By Yvonne Bayer-Cheung, owner of Yvonne’s Fitness, Zumba & Yoga Instructor
It’s no secret that Zumba is one of the biggest group fitness phenomena using energizing Latin music and rhythms of the past 2 decades. With over 100,000 Zumba Instructors dancing and sweating up a storm in over 180 countries with 15 million students in over 200,000 locations, Zumba is hugely popular and still growing strong! Here are the top ten reasons why this dance fitness craze is so addictive!
10. Come as you are without judgement: Zumba is for all ages and for people of varying fitness levels. A typical Zumba class is held in a venue with no mirrors and the instructor faces the students. With no mirrors, there’s no time to check yourself out and with the fast-paced music, there’s no time to judge yourself and think about how you are doing. The whole point of exercise is to just keep moving. Sometimes the hardest part of exercising is showing up for a class. Zumba is for all levels and ages as there are options that you can do. I love having multi-generational families in my classes, many mother-daughter teams and sometimes even 3 generations!
9. It’s so FUN, there’s no boring Zumba class: Zumba Instructors (ZINs) get the latest music and choreography every month produced by top music artists and producers (both Latin and mainstream, yes, we love Daddy Yankee) so that the playlist and class is always exciting and current. Zumba’s slogans “Party Yourself into Shape” and “Exercise in Disguise” really holds true.
8. Huge sweat equity: you get a really good workout in, burning an average of 500-800 calories per Zumba class. Zumba is a high energy exercise class using easy to follow steps that will get your heart rate up and you will sweat from head to toe, giving you a complete workout. This is a major health benefit as it combines both low and high intensity moves so you get your cardio and muscle-conditioning in at the same time. Health Canada recommends getting your heart rate up at least 20 min per day that means you should be breaking a decent sweat which easily happens in a Zumba class.
7. Good brain exercise: there’s no “tuning out” or daydreaming when you are doing Zumba. You have to concentrate on getting the steps and the choreography quickly because there is an average of 15 songs or routines during a 60 min Zumba class. In fact, recent studies named dance-based exercises as one of the top treatments for Alzheimer’s and that after a couple of months of dance cardio fitness classes, there was improved cognitive, memory and processing speed.
6. Zumba is a huge stress reliever: whether you are a teacher, lawyer, nurse, mother, or business owner, I always hear from my students, that they really need to do Zumba because they always feel better and re-energized after class! Dancing it out is not only fun, but exercising releases “endorphins” the happy hormones that help to combat stress.
5. So many different types of Zumba fitness programs to choose from: You can fall in love with other Zumba Fitness programs such as Zumba Toning (which uses 1-3 lb weights to add some sculpting and toning moves into your exercise regime); Strong Nation (formerly Strong by Zumba that uses more fitness moves like planks and squats and high intensity moves like burpees and jumping jacks), Aqua Zumba (party in the pool using water as resistance), Zumba Gold (lower-impact class for beginners and the active older population) and Zumba Kids (kid friendly routines and Zumba music) just to name a few (and there’s more).
4. You get to wear colourful and cool looking Zumba Wear: Dress like “Skittles” and the fun, bright colours and Zumba fashion will get you pumped up! Seriously, there is no other fitness program out there that has its own fashion label like Zumba. Even during Covid-19 self-isolation this past spring, I was amazed to “see” that many of my students were wearing their Zumba Wear during their virtual classes with me!
3. You can “whoop” it up, scream and shout all you want during class (go back to the stress reliever and good fun points). In fact, this is highly encouraged throughout the class. Zumba Instructors do not usually verbally cue and tell you what moves are coming up next, so instructors are usually letting out a “whoo hoo” to indicate a change in steps and students can “whoo hoo” back. You will also be doing moves that may be out of your comfort zone (like shimmy’s, hip circles & body rolls), so just let it go, “whoo hoo” and have fun!
2. Zumba is international and diverse! Just like the diversity of Zumba instructors and students, Zumba music and rhythms are very international and enjoyed by many people. It’s not just Latin rhythms like salsa, merengue or reggaeton (which remains the core music) in a Zumba class, but there are sounds from Africa, India and other parts of the world. What is really neat to see is that there is a huge international community of Zumba lovers around the world dancing to the same great rhythms and songs. Whether I am in Vancouver, Germany or Mexico, I always go to a local Zumba class and it is wonderful to dance to some of the same songs/routines that I teach in my classes.
1. Your Zumba community and friendship: The top reason why Zumba is highly addictive is because of the people you meet in class and the friendships, support and camaraderie that develop and grow over time. I am truly inspired by my students at Yvonne’s Fitness at the Lindenwoods Community Centre over the last 8 years and how much we have grown as a community and the many friendships that have formed. The community now goes beyond the Zumba classes and as a group, we have supported and fundraised and given back generously to the community. We all go through our trials and tribulations of life and together, we have laughed and cried, but at the end of the day, we continue to hold each other up. The power of the human connection in Zumba classes runs really deep.
Yvonne Bayer-Cheung (of Yvonne’s Fitness) with some of her beautiful students (“Zumba Tribe”) in their colourful Zumba Wear. They have been happily dancing and doing Zumba together for over 8 years at the Lindenwoods Community Centre in Winnipeg, Canada.