Zumba is an exercise program that provides intense cardio in the form of dance which usually has a Latin style to it.
Jessica Terry is a Zumba instructor in Valdosta who has been teaching Zumba since 2008. In an interview with her, she told me how she typically runs her classes and gave me some tips.
From the beginning, Zumba had a Latin influence in the music that is played during classes. According to Terry, some instructors do expand their music selection to include music that their clients prefer more; however, in her classes, she plays Latin, belly dancing, Bollywood, Polynesian, and some African music. These types of music are what she has always used and still enjoys using it.
If you have never done Zumba before, that is okay. According to Terry, the moves are typically repetitive. There are three to four movers per song, and even though Zumba is a form of dance, it is not a dance class where technique is important. The only thing that matters is that you move and have a good time. There is not a right or wrong way to do it.
“I encourage people to dance how they want to dance,” Terry said.
There isn’t a specific age range for Zumba. Anyone is encouraged to attend a class. Terry goes through movements that vary from low impact to higher impact so that anyone can participate with moves that they feel comfortable doing.
Terry has had ladies who have come in after having their hips replaced and even a lady who had her walker with her. With these cases, you would just modify the move and do it your own way.
Even though the moves or music may differ between classes and instructors, Terry mentioned that you will find people smiling, having a good time, and sweating in her classes.
There are quite a few benefits to choosing Zumba. It is good cardio. Your heart will pump, so it will improve cardiovascular health. Terry does incorporate some strength training in her classes. An example would be squats, which could build muscle endurance. It also builds confidence.
Zumba can also help with weight loss especially if this exercise ifs combined with the right nutrition. Most people burn around 300-600 calories in a class.
Aside from health benefits, you can also make friends.
If you are wanting any of those benefits, give Zumba a chance!
Example of modifications
Terry starts with easy moves and goes up to harder ones.
Beginner: a basic march
Intermediate: add some hips
Advanced: Add some jumps and high knees
Written by Carissa Zaun
CSCS, CPT , MBA
Kinesiologist, Exercise Science