From the outside looking in, a Zumba class may look like a silly girl dance party that really has no business being considered a serious exercise class. But think again. The dance fitness program, created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez in the 1990s, is quickly becoming a popular form of aerobic exercises. The choreography incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue and mambo dance moves for a powerful, fun class. Maybe that's why about 15 million people are taking weekly Zumba classes in over 200,000 locations across the world. Below we have uncovered some of the biggest myths about the exercise program to help you realize why Zumba just may be your new favourite way to get rid of those extra calories.
1. Dance Party
While you may think attending a Zumba class is just like stepping onto the dance floor at your local bar, you're wrong. In reality, it's quite structured. Instructors are required to play at least one song for each of the Zumba rhythms and must have a five-to-eight-minute warm-up and cool-down period. Many classes also incorporate squats, lunges and ab work.
2. Too Clumpy
You may think you need to know the choreography and appropriate steps to take a Zumba class and may fear you'll look like a total moron if you attempt a class. But the number one rule is that there is no wrong way to do Zumba. You just need to go and sweat. There is no judgement, no matter how silly you feel you look. Once the music is turned on, everyone in the class – no matter their size or fitness level – lets go and has fun.
3. Great Exercise
Zumba is not a waste of exercise time. In fact, you will burn about 600 or more calories per class. Most people who attend for the first time are surprised by the intense workout and how much they actually sweat. As well, most people say the exercise class is therapeutic, offering them an hour to themselves to clear their head and de-stress.
4. Muscle Toning
If you are watching a zumba class you may think it looks just like a bunch of people dancing around a room together. But think again. Most of the dance moves incorporated into a zumba class are working a lot of different muscles. You squat, lunge, jump and crunch your way to a lean, toned and defined body.
You will rarely feel like you are doing the same moves class after class. Instructors work hard to rotate their routines and bring in new moves to keep the classes fun. One class could be hip hop, while another is Latin-inspired.
If you've always been a dancer at heart – even if you can't dance – and have always wanted to look the part, Zumba is your perfect excuse to go shopping for those fitted tanks, baggy pants and bold-coloured prints. Zumba brand clothing is funky and fun so now you have another excuse to go do some retail therapy.
Zumba is your time and your time only. There is no work, no kids, no dinners to make. It's all about you and your time with your friends. Couple that with some fun music and you feel like you're having a girls night out. It's a great way to meet new people or get together with your besties. When you're done you will feel recharged and ready to take on the day.