They say dancing is therapeutic and has many health benefits. Still, how often does it happen to listen to a tune wishing you could dance to it but your two left feet are not really helping? How often do you see people dancing and wish you could let go of your reservations and start dancing like there is no tomorrow?
I know plenty of these people. I see their feet beneath the table dancing away but when you ask them to dance with you they politely decline. Dancing has always been a part of human culture, a mean of self-expression, celebration and sometimes competition.
The benefits of dancing are plenty, improving both your body’s and mind’s well-being:
- increases muscle strength and endurance
- improves the condition of your heart and lungs
- builds strong bones
- improves your coordination skills and flexibility
- can help manage weight problems
- increases energy levels
- lowers the risk of dementia
- reduces stress and feeling of loneliness
- exercises your memory as you try to follow dancing steps
It really can be an enjoyable way to stay fit and active. But, to experience these benefits you need to practise dancing as a routine and not just once or twice a month, when out partying with friends. This is why most fitness centers, nowadays, offer dance classes in their group exercise programs.
Still, many people feel intimidated by dance classes, like latin or hip-hop. In dance classes, a specific choreography needs to be followed and unless you can do it correctly it is very difficult and often embarrassing to follow the rest of the group.
For those people, a different type of dance exercise exists and it is called Zumba. Probably you heard it before but were you brave enough to try it? Or, the word “dance” immediately put you off? If so, it is time to reconsider!
Zumba fitness, as is its original name and which in colombian means “fast movement”, is a type of dance aerobic exercise that combines latin, salsa, samba, cha cha, mambo and merengue with modern hip-hop moves and oriental belly-dancing. Ok, hold it right here. How can a dance exercise that combines so many different types of dance be less intimidating than a simple salsa class? Well, the answer is simple, the main purpose of Zumba is to have fun, to feel like going to a party and not become a dance expert.
Your two-left feet will love it
You do not need to be an expert in any type of dance to do Zumba. You do NOT have be a dancer at all. You can “Zumba” even if you haven’t ever danced in your life.
How so? Because there are NO wrong moves in Zumba. There is no specific choreography that you need to follow correctly, or else you cannot follow the class.
If there is a tune you don’t like or some steps you cannot seem to follow, worry not, as that session will only last for a few minutes before going to the next one. New tune, new moves, fresh start. The key ingredient is to keep moving. As long as you are moving and keeping your heart rate up, you are doing it correctly and you are experiencing all the health and mental benefits of dancing.
You can do it
If you think that you need a lot of stamina to survive a Zumba class, think again. Zumba’s basis is all about feeling good while working at whatever pace you can handle, depending on your own body needs. You do not need special attire either. All you need is a pair of good trainers and comfortable clothes that can handle sweating.
Zumba is for everyone, regardless of their age and their fitness level. There are classes for children as they are for the elderly, as well as fitness fanatics and first-time fitness recruits. There are types of Zumba classes for every need, ranging from ordinary Zumba to extra muscle toning regimes to injury-preventing aqua classes. And if going to the gym is not your thing, the Zumba fitness routines are also available on mobile phones and tablet devices to try them wherever you like.
Zumba has been around since 2001 and has more than 14 million fans worldwide. Are they all professional dancers? No. Were they all good at dancing before starting? No. Did they all grow to love the “dance-fitness parties”? Yes.
- As with any type of exercise, always consult with your doctor before starting
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise
- Don’t push yourself too fast or too far, especially if you are a beginner
- Learning new moves increases your risk of injury, especially if you are already tired. So, do it carefully and with the advice of your instructor
- You cannot out-dance a bad diet. Proper diet and nutrition is really important, as is with any form of exercising, especially if it’s a part of a weight loss program.