Zumba has stimulated fitness and music in the last decade.
Sucheta Pal currently India’s Master Trainer and the only Zumba Education Specialist who is officially licensed to train instructors in India breaks down Zumba fitness in simple words. Did you know there are different specialties in Zumba fitness? Did you know Zumba has immense physical and psychological benefits? Let’s find out what is and what it can do for you by informing you 9 lesser known facts about Zumba.
Origin of Zumba fitness
“Zumba fitness is always called a happy accident,” says Sucheta. “One day Alberto “Beto” Perez, a Colombian who was an aerobics instructor in the early 90s forgot to carry his music tapes for his classes, but he still had to conduct the classes. He is also an amazing Latin dancer, so what he did – he improvised. He went to his car and brought his Latin music tapes out and played that class. He started to mix latin moves and the aerobics exercises, and that was the first unofficial Zumba class. Therefore we call it the happy accidient. Since that day, zumba fitness has grown in 12 years exponentially.”
This class revolutionized fitness and dance, Sucheta explains “He conducted 9-10 classes every week, he then moved to the capital of Colombia – Bogotá and became famous. Then he wanted to take Zumba to the world, so the best thing to do is take Zumba to the US. But he had to struggle in the US – sleep on benches and knocked on every gym door to accept his programme – Zumba fitness. After struggling for four years in Miami, one fitness director accepted his request. As he conducted Zumba there were other gym members whose interests were peaked with this fitness routine. And at the end of that one hour the class was full.” And that’s the story of Zumba fitness.
Zumba fitness music
“Zumba used very Latin inspired music – salsa, meringue, rumba, reggaeton. But in the last 5 years it is international music genre– bollywood and bhagra in included, there’s belly dancing too.” You will be surprised that several international artists are creating music only for Zumba. “There are award winning Grammy artists like Pitbull, Daddy Yankee, Wyclef creating music exclusively for Zumba. Zumba music is catchy, very upbeat and has a clubby feel to it.”
Benefits of Zumba
Burning calories is the biggest benefit you can get from Zumba. Sucheta tells you how, “Firstly, Zumba can burn calories between 500 -800 calories in every class which is for one hour. You can do Zumba once a day or twice a day, it totally depends on you. But every session of Zumba makes you burn 500 – 800 calories without feeling that you worked out. In Zumba, your mind is at class – you trying to figure out the steps, having fun and moving to the music. Zumba is an exercise in disguise. It is not like a boring gym – doing reps and sets; therefore people stick to it and that’s why it is effective.”
Zumba has both physiological and psychological benefits
You can divide the benefits of Zumba into two parts:
Physical – It burns calorie and Zumba is a total body workout, amazing to tone up.
Psychological – Zumba is a happy drug. Zumba is an electrifying joy. You forget everything – especially stress from your daily life. Zumba improves your mental health and improves your physical image which in turns helps you feel better.
Zumba and strength training
Zumba is definitely a cardio workout but what about building muscles and strength training? “Zumba fitness is a combination of cardio and strength training,” says Sucheta. “Zumba involves a lot of body weight training, so you don’t have to go and pump weights. Zumba involves chest presses and over head raises. The way the instructor teaches you, the fitness part is hidden in that – so you are working every muscle in your body, in addition to your cardio workout.” Zumba is a more a no equipment kind of workout.
“It includes lunges, squats. You can also build six packs with Zumba, the best example is the trainer – Alberto “Beto” Perez, he has amazing six pack abs. You can have a lean body with Zumba.”
Specialty in Zumba
“Zumba toning – When you talk about strength training in Zumba toning we actually use dumbbell for strength training. They are not actual dumbbells, they are maraca-like sticks or zumba toning sticks. You can actually shake them and they are weighted – distributed weight. And the class is done using those weights.”
Weight loss workout
“Zumbatomic – is Zumba for kids. Zumba comes in the picture especially with increasing obesity in children. A child will not go and exercise if it is not fun; hence Zumba brings the fun element through dance and exercise.”
Weight loss workout
“Aqua zumba – Zumba in the pool. It is less stress on the joints and it is more effective as there is resistance both ways- it has resistance against gravity and resistance against the buoyancy of water. It is perfect for those with arthirits and those who do not like to sweat it out and those who have body aches like back problems.”
Weight loss workout
“Zumba sentao – it is newest specialty; it is Zumba using a chair. The whole workout is done using a chair; it is amazing for core workout and total body workout. You can do your squats and lunges with Zumba sentao.”
“Zumba gold – it is Zumba for older adults. This Zumba will keep you fit in a fun way. The beauty of Zumba fitness is that you can modify your steps. Initially zumba instructor announces at the beginning of the class you can go at your own pace.”