A few years ago I discovered something that would literally change my life. It has made me healthier, happier, more fulfilled, and enabled me to meet incredible people and establish friendships I will cherish forever. I discovered Zumba® (ZOOM-bah).
Don’t laugh. Zumba® is a fitness program like no other. It is the sizzling conjugal union of heart pumping Latin and International music, simple, dynamic, and energetic moves, and the enthusiasm and energy of a room full of happy, sweaty people. It is a cocktail of choreography, with a splash of shimmies and grooves, plenty of aerobic fitness, and shot of strength training -- shaken and stirred to perfection. No ice. It’s hot, hot, hot. ¡Ay, caramba!
What attracts people to Zumba®? At first, it is usually a well-meaning, fun-loving friend (insert alcohol here). They tell you about this great new workout they have been doing, how effective it has been for them, but most importantly how insanely fun it is. You hesitate. After all, white girls can’t dance (okay, I am referring to this white girl). And then it happens... You cautiously enter a room full of slightly anxious but excited people, the music starts, sometimes the lights dim, your hips begin to move, you feel your body taking over, you sweat, you wiggle, you laugh, and you leave wanting more. Sixty minutes of hot sweaty bodies, infectious music, and little bit of dirty dancing. You are sober. You remember everything. Holy jalapeños, Batman! This is a fitness class? Heck yeah. An effective one too!
A Zumba® fitness class, also known as a Fitness-Party™, is choreographed to allow each participant to master the moves slowly, progressively changing and improving, allowing both beginner and advanced participants to be in the same class. Zumba® incorporates safe, effective high/low cardiovascular training with muscular endurance, strength, and flexibility improving movements. It is a full-body cardio-style workout in one fun stress-relieving hour. You will have so much fun that you will later find yourself humming the tunes, dancing with the vacuum cleaner – insert husbands eye-rolling here – and searching the Zumba®world to find your next class. No joke, especially on the eye-rolling part. Most importantly, it will have you coming back for more because you want to, not because you think you should.
Zumba® feeds the mind, the body, the soul...but mostly the smile. As an instructor, I see participants of all walks of life, all ages, all sizes, and all shapes enter my classes. They clap, they hoot, and they holler. They laugh with me and they laugh at me. Smiles across the entire room bring a joy to my life that I have never experienced before. They leave healthier and happier but I gain more from them than I could possibly ever give back.
I now find myself wearing brightly coloured shirts, crazy cargo pants, dancing in front of a room full of hot sweaty people, and eagerly anticipating the excitement of meeting close to 6000 other Zumba® instructors at an international convention this month! I am healthier (finally lowered my cholesterol) and happier than ever. My family thinks I am crazy, in a good way. Oh, and did I mention I can rock a bikini? Okay, maybe I don’t rock it but I will wear it in public. That has to count for something.
Peace, Love, Zumba®, Baby!
Image Credit: Sandra Der
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