Zumba Class: 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 a Zumba class on posters at the gym or heard someone saying they go to one of the classes. Today we’ll be covering everything you need to know about Zumba, a popular exercise that allows you to burn up to 800 calories in an hour.

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is a Zumba class? Although you can exercise a lot of different ways, a lot of people prefer Zumba classes because it’s fun and dance-based. Thus, a lot of fitness newcomers don’t really feel like this type of exercise is a “chore”.

What’s a Zumba Class?

zumba

Zumba is an exercise that combines different types of dance, such as salsa, merengue, mambo, and reggaeton. This modern form of exercise has its origins in Colombia, one of the Latin American countries where it’s most popular.

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.

This exercise was introduced to the United States in early 2001. Since then, many celebrities like Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, and Rihanna promoted it. After that, it spread to Europe and the rest of Latin America.

Zumba classes are based on aerobic choreographic moves that work the whole body. Thus, the exercise allows you to lose weight, while also reducing stress and improve balance and coordination.  Furthermore, this exercise tones the muscles and allows you to burn 500 to 800 calories per hour-long session.

In Zumba class, you may listen to all kinds of rhythms combined with each other!

You might like: Why Dance Therapy is so Good for You

What is Zumba like?

zumba is a fun workout for everybody

You don’t need to have physically prepared for Zumba class beforehand nor have had dance classes before. Furthermore, for a lot of Zumba fanatics, this is their first approach to fitness and exercise!

Nevertheless, bear in mind that the risks of injury are as serious as with other kinds of exercise. On the other hand, be careful of the classes you book: progression of the class depends on the songs that the instructor chooses. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to watch a few classes or talk to other students to get a feel of the amount of physical effort required.

In most cases, a quicker pace is combined with a slower one. 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). To this end, the session starts with a warm-up and continues with a combination of exercises to mostly Latin music.

Music is the special “ingredient” in the classes, since each song has a choreography that makes exercising 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.

Read: Burn Calories with These Simple Exercises

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:

Zumbatomic

These classes are for children and consist of special choreography 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

zumba gold is meant for seniors

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 make moving harder while enjoying 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

zumba class combines different sets of music

This session lasts 30 minutes and combines high-intensity dance exercises and routines with timed intervals.

It’s perfect for burning calories, increasing stamina and improving metabolism.

Zumba and CrossFit: the Two Most Popular Exercises

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

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 serves to gain muscle and increase endurance.

  • Krishnan, S., Tokar, T. N., Boylan, M. M., Griffin, K., Feng, D., Mcmurry, L., … Cooper, J. A. (2015). Zumba® dance improves health in overweight/obese or type 2 diabetic women. American Journal of Health Behavior. https://doi.org/10.5993/AJHB.39.1.12
  • Luettgen, M., Foster, C., Doberstein, S., Mikat, R., & Porcari, J. (2012). Zumba ??: Is the “fitness-party” a good workout? Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.elecom.2006.11.006
  • Delextrat, A., & Neupert, E. (2016). Physiological load associated with a Zumba® fitness workout: A comparison pilot study between classes and a DVD. Journal of Sports Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2015.1031162
  • Barene, S., Holtermann, A., Oseland, H., Brekke, O. L., & Krustrup, P. (2016). Effects on muscle strength, maximal jump height, flexibility and postural sway after soccer and Zumba exercise among female hospital employees: a 9-month randomised controlled trial. Journal of Sports Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2016.1140906