Monday, November 1, 2010

Ditch the Workout, Join the Party

New Rochelle, N.Y.-- Ditch the workout and join the party. This is just one of the slogans that are attracting people to fitness facilities nationwide for Zumba classes. This latest fitness craze is a Latin-inspired workout class that uses almost every muscle in your body as you shimmy and shake your way fit for about an hour each class.

Alberto Perez, a former aerobics instructor from Colombia founded Zumba in 1999. Realizing that he forgot his usual aerobics music at home one day, he improvised using his favorite Latin salsa and meringue tapes from his car and thus, Zumba was born. Zumba began as a workout DVD that was featured on informercials and eventually developed into actual classes being taught by instructors. These classes cover a range of different dance styles including mambo, cumbia, cha-cha, and meringue. Zumba instructors are taught specific guidelines but each instructor designs his/her classes using their own style. Today, there are over 20,000 certified instructors in 40 countries.

"I love Zumba because it's fun and it is the most effective workout that I've ever tried," says Gabrielle Farah, a certified Zumba instructor who teaches Zumba classes at Iona College. "What I love most about being an instructor is that I get to share my passion with others and help motivate them to maintain a healthy lifestyle."

That is what Zumba is all about. It is a fun and different way of working out and being active. You don't have to be an athlete or a dancer to benefit from Zumba. The choreography is simple yet fun and you can even modify some of the moves according to your own ability. Depending on your weight and how much effort you put in, you can realistically burn about 400-800 calories during an hour long class.

"It is clear that people enjoy Zumba by the feedback I get. I have a lot of "regulars" that come to my class twice a week. Each week people bring new friends so I get about 10 new students a week. I can tell people are having fun by their reactions. There is a lot of smiling and cheering when certain songs come on," says Farrah.

Zumba is so popular because people really find it fun. Instead of jogging on the treadmill or pedaling on a stationary bike, you can forget that you're actually working out while you let loose and dance. It is a great way to break from your daily routine. When you enjoy working out, you are more likely to stick to exercising regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Zumba classes are being offered at many gyms across the country, so it's about time to ditch the workout and join the party!