Go to the gym, turn on the TV, or even log onto youtube and you’ll find someone raving about Zumba.
Certainly everyone knows what it is, right? At least they get it’s a fast paced activity of some form. Perhaps it seems scary or overly-adventurous. In fact, maybe we should all just ignore the fanatics, stay in our safe little bubbles and continue to have absolutely no fun in life.
Well, that doesn’t sound right. Let’s talk about Zumba, instead.
So, What IS Zumba Anyway?
The short answer is that Zumba is a fun exercise craze that…wait! Where are you going? Trust us here, it gets better. Let’s start over.
Everyone knows that working out is important. But it can be really hard. It takes weeks to develop a habit, so getting to the point where it’s second nature to perform a regular activity can seem impossible. Weight training, cardio, and even yoga can be boring.
But Zumba is different. How so? It’s always FUN!
Got your attention now, huh? The funnest things in life are those you’ll remember for years to come and likely want to do over and over again. Think about this for a minute.
What are the funnest things in your life? How often do you do them?
OK, how often do you WANT to do them? Fun activities get attention. You actually want to do them and focus on ways to experience the natural high associated with them. Zumba enthusiasts are no different. But why is that the case?
Well, it’s because Zumba incorporates easy-to-learn dance routines with mixed speed rythyms and resistance training. Latin beats and rythyms encourage people of all levels to show up to group sessions or just shake their tushies in their own home and have a ball doing so.
There’s no formal competition in this exercise structure, although some class members feel otherwise and make a personal competition out of it to increase the fun. But every level from beginning to advanced can benefit from this insanely fun workout option.
How Did Zumba Begin?
Plato first coined the phrase that “necessity is the mother of invention”, and that couldn’t be truer with the onset of Zumba. Many of the most interesting inventions and discoveries occur when life forces us to improvise. And that’s exactly what happened to Beto Perez. However, the global reaction to his split-second decision was something he could have never imagined.
Alberto Perez worked as a Columbian dancer and choreographer in the early 1990’s. At that time he happened to be teaching an aerobics class at a local dance studio. He got to class one day and realized he left his normal music tracks at home.
Class was about to start, so it was too late to head back. He had to come up with a fast solution. Looking in his workout bag, he found he had some traditional Latin music – salsa and meringue tapes – that he enjoyed listening to in his car. Well, it was better than nothing, so he popped them into the sound system.
When that class began, he changed his typical choreographed teaching method to encorporate the new musical genre choice.
That first Zumba class involved a mash up of soca, cumbia, reggaeton, tango, Bollywood, belly dancing, martial arts, samba, mambo, flamenco hip-hop, salsa, merengue, cha-cha, squats and lunges. By the end of the lesson, everyone was exhausted and wanting more! The word spread fast, and Beto’s one act wonder turned into a global-wide demand for continued repeat performances.
Today, Zumba is still incredibly popular and shows no signs of stopping. Famous stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Jackie Chan, Emma Watson, Halle Berry, and Victoria Beckham are avid proponents of the craze that claims to burn 500-1,000 calories per hour.
But celebrity endorsements aren’t the only reason it’s practiced in over 140,000 locations (outside of the home) in 185 countries. Zumba is popular because it’s a fun and easily adaptable way to improve your health and fitness super fast. And everyone can get down with that.
If you are not familiar with Zumba fitness here is the great video to get you started: