Zumba: Why Is It So Popular?

· May 9, 2017
Have you ever heard about zumba? Have you tried it? Learn more about this exercise and why it has become so popular!

You’ve probably seen this exercise on posters at the gym or heard someone saying they go to one of the classes.

In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about “Zumba”: a popular exercise that allows you to burn up to 800 calories in an hour.

What’s Zumba?


It causes rage among women of all ages. Zumba is an exercise that combines different types of dance, such as salsa, merengue, mambo, reggaeton, etc.

Classes are based on aerobic choreographies that not only allow you to lose weight but also reduce stress and improve balance and coordination.

  • This modern form of exercise has its origins in Colombia, one of the Latin American countries where it’s most popular. In Zumba classes, you can listen to all kinds of rhythms combined with each other and matched with their respective choreographies.
  • Furthermore, this exercise tones the muscles and allows you to burn 500 to 800 calories per session (about one hour).

The word “zumba” comes from another widely used among Colombians: “rumba”, which means “fiesta ” or “party” in the country.

  • The creator of this exercise is Alberto “Beto” Pérez, a gym teacher.
  •  Zumba has recently reached other countries, even though Beto created it in the late 90’s when he decided to shake up his classes and add Latin music to them.

Firstly, this exercise was introduced to the United States in early 2001 and many celebrities like Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, and Rihanna promoted it. From there on, it spread to Europe and the rest of Latin America.

What is Zumba like?


You don’t need to have physically prepared for Zumba beforehand nor have had dance classes before.

However, you must bear in mind that the risks of injury are serious and the progression of the class depends on the songs that the instructor chooses.

In most cases, a quicker pace is combined with a slower one.

Zumba is more popular among women. Moreover,  although it may seem that it’s only about “dancing,” the training is intense and dynamic.

Each class lasts between 50 and 60 minutes (but you can do the half-hour express mode). The session starts with a warm-up and continues with a combination of exercises to mostly Latin music.

This type of training provides benefits in the long run.

  • By dancing salsa, merengue or bachata you burn calories, eliminate the stress, and you leave aside the problems.
  • Music is the special “ingredient” in the classes since each song has a choreography that makes exercise less boring.
  • The rhythms are very quick-paced and the steps are “catchy”. In each class, you can strengthen your muscles, improve your cardiovascular rhythm, sweat, and have fun.

What types of Zumba exist?

There are different ways to do the most popular exercise of recent times. Each one is designed for a specific group of participants and purpose:


These classes are for children and consist of special choreographies and music (according to age).

Routines are easy to follow and the little ones not only have fun but also:

  • Pay more attention.
  • Gain more self-confidence.
  • Improve their coordination.

Zumba Gold

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The difference between these classes and  “normal” Zumba classes is that the tempo and rhythm are modified.

In addition, the movements are adapted to the needs of the participants (who are usually the elderly).

The songs are still salsa, reggaeton, and merengue but are slower.

Aqua Zumba

These classes are a true pool party. In addition to offering the physical benefits from the traditional classes, this type of Zumba adds the “difficulty” of doing movements in the water.

The objective is to achieve greater results or to take advantage of the therapeutic benefits of water.

Zumba Toning

This is the most advanced alternative to traditional classes. The exercises in each session are designed to increase cardiovascular capacity and muscular endurance.

Participants use special maracas to mark the times and the movements. This program also has specific exercises to burn fat.

Zumba Gold Toning

This program combines the fun and de-stressing movements of the zumba with strength training.

  • It begins with a routine of low intensity and exciting rhythms and gradually increases the intensity and speed.
  • In addition, it increases muscular endurance and bone density as well as improves posture and coordination and also strengthens joints.

Zumba Circuit

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  • This session lasts 30 minutes and combines high-intensity dance exercises and routines with timed intervals.
  • It is perfect for burning calories, increasing stamina and improving metabolism.

Zumba Sentao

This is one of the most modern programs. The participants practice the exercises and choreographies while sitting on a chair. This form of the exercise improves the participants’ center of gravity, stabilizes the body and strengthens cardiovascular health.

Zumba and CrossFit: the two exercises of the moment

Even though they’re different disciplines, both have had the honor of being the chosen exercises of in gyms and academies.

Both exercises can:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety levels.
  • Increase happiness by releasing endorphins.
  • Help participants lose weight.
  • Tone the body.

Many people chose to do a routine that combines both exercises (for example, twice a week each). Zumba is more aerobic and recreational, while CrossFit is thought to gain muscle and increase endurance.