Some time ago, a good friend of mine decided to open a dancing school. She asked each and every person she knew if they wanted to join. You know, word of mouth. If we sign up and are happy, then we’ll be spreading the word far and wide, hence, more people sign up.
Now, around that time, my only idea of dancing was bobbing my head to the rhythm and slightly stepping from leg to leg, all the while holding one drink in one hand and a second drink in the other hand. The bargain ones you get at happy hour, of course.
Not wanting to sound like a bad friend, I signed up for one month. I figured it was just the push I needed to getting fit and staying fit.
True to myself, I didn’t have a look at the classes offered before signing up to see if it would be a fit for a newbie like myself.
The first day I did go to her school I found out they had a planned class for Zumba. Not knowing what it was, I was terrified. I mean Zumba sounded like an intense, even aggressive, dance to me. I didn’t even have enough time to do a quick search on Google. Off I went, lined up on the dancefloor and figured if I hated it, I could always sneak out.
The first thing that strikes you about Zumba is the loud, fast-paced music. But apart from being loud, it’s also fantastic. I was immediately impressed. The trainer, my friend, asked everyone in the audience how far they are in their Zumba journey and thankfully, most were pretty new to it like myself.
It was standard-beginner Zumba but I didn’t know it at the time. I will not lie and say how easy I found it and how I fit in perfectly from the very first minute of that very first class. But it’s not that difficult.
The best part of it was we all had the best of fun. Since most weren’t regular Zumba dancers, or even keen fitness fanatics, we all joined together and just had a laugh. Especially when someone did a wrong move and ended up pushing another fellow Zumba enthusiast.
After the class, I just had to educate myself on what is Zumba and why were all my muscles hurting as soon as I was done.
Turns out, Zumba is one of the best full-body workouts you can do.
The fun factor is guaranteed but there are other benefits to it such as:
Surely, that can be said of any exercise that features loud music but the songs played at a Zumba class are around 145 beats per minute. The mental effect of listening to such an upbeat music is highly contagious and is set to get you in the mood to move. Dancing, on the other hand, is a proven stress reliever. Imagine the health benefits to signing up for a Zumba class as opposed to gulping a glass of wine in an attempt to unwind after a hard day.
- Works the whole body
Zumba is different from other dance moves in that it combines dancing and fitness all in one. The variety of moves work most, if not all, of the body’s muscles and joints. It is indeed a workout for the whole body.
- Weight Loss
Like most exercises, you’re bound to lose weight when you join a Zumba class. The standard one-hour practice is estimated to burn whooping 500-1000 calories. These numbers, of course, depend on the efforts you’ll put when trying to Zumba your way to a new you. The funny thing is you wouldn’t be even thinking about that while you’re trying to keep up with the moves. Especially the very first times. Which brings me to the next benefit of Zumba…
- Improved balance and coordination
You will be surprised at how much more balanced you will feel even after the first two times of doing Zumba. Az Zumba incorporates exercises that work the whole body, it greatly helped me with my neck stiffness and back pain.
- Great for your health and lungs
As Zumba is set to a fast-paced music, the moves are done at a fast pace and you breathe in more oxygen in a high-intensity workout than a slower one. Also, dancing to the fast-paced rhythm for an hour greatly improves your heart health.
- Increased endurance
This is an obvious one, right? When you do any form of exercise and become faster and better at it, you’ll increase your endurance and get the most of your ‘workout’.
- It’s just fun
It definitely doesn’t feel like working out. At the time, ‘Gangnam style’ ruled the Zumba floor and I tell you, it was by far the most fun song for the group and one where most would never miss out. The whole group of Zumba was composed of cool and fun individuals. I mean, how can you not be fun if you’re passionately displaying your Gangnam style moves?
- Open to all
If I can join a Zumba class being the absolute fitness newbie, then everyone can. Considering you have a great trainer like I did, you should be able to easily follow all moves. Keep in mind there are a variety of Zumba classes offered and I’ve only experienced the standard one. They have classes focused on children and senior citizens, along with Aqua Zumba. I’ve never tried those though they do sound like a lot of fun.
These are just a fracture of all that Zumba can offer as a workout. My favourite part of all was my increased confidence in regards to my dance moves at weddings and nights out just after a few times of going.
A few tips for Zumba beginners from someone who’s been there:
- Check with your doctor – as with most high-intensity workouts, if you’re a fitness newbie it’s a good idea to get the all clear with your doctor before attempting an hour-long Zumba class, blood pressure and the works.
- Don’t be a hero – if you feel any side ache coming, stop and rest. You can definitely skip a song considering you’ll gain a few more. And it’s much better to skip one or two than the rest of the workout.
- Breathe – don’t ever forget to breathe properly. This is applicable to all workouts but especially high-intensity ones like Zumba.
- Avoid that mirror – this is non-negotiable the first couple of times. In no means are you to check out your reflection while you’re doing the moves. You’ll either storm out in tears out of embarrassment or you’ll decide it’s not for you. Either way, steer clear of the mirror for the time being. Keep your eyes on the trainer and imagine you look as effortlessly elegant as they do.
- No pain, no gain – expect to feel muscle pains and aches post-workout for the first couple of times. Don’t be discouraged. Keep at it.
If you’re wondering if I signed up for a second month at my friend’s dancing school: I did. Happily so. I never tried any of the other dance lessons as I was hooked on that Zumba class which run twice weekly. And quite frankly, who can go dancing every single day? Don’t answer that! But yes, I was a regular until the school eventually moved location and I had to stop. I do miss it sometimes.
In summary, would I recommend trying Zumba? Absolutely! It’s been by far the most sociable and fun workout in disguise. Check out your local Zumba options and give it a go. Hoping you share your experiences here.