Stuff I Like: Zumba

A warning up front: this post has nothing to do with writing. It’s merely another interlude about something else that goes on in my life.

Over the years, I’ve struggled with exercise. I was terrible at school sports and never found any aspect of exercise enjoyable. In my 20s I put on some weight, and thus commenced a new battle with exercise. I tried all sorts of different things, providing they were low hassle and low cost.

Two years ago, I decided to give my local village Zumba class a go. Exercising to music appeals to me, and I also thought it might be a good way to make some more friends.

It turned out to be everything I was looking for! I now attend three Zumba classes a week when I can. I enjoy it to the extent I will not miss it unless I have to, and I have some great new friends.

If you’re into any kind of fitness, you have probably heard about Zumba. You may even have dismissed it as a fad, or something that’s not proper exercise.

All I can offer to that is personal anecdotes. The Zumba class I attend was going strong years before I joined, and seems as enthusiastic as ever now. And I have seen my own fitness levels improve in terms of stamina and capability. Zumba is weight-bearing cardiovascular exercise and, in my opinion, any class that gets 30 odd people coming back again and again to jump around and have a laugh for an hour is more beneficial than going to the gym once a month.

So what is Zumba all about? Zumba is a fully choreographed exercise class to music, based around different types of dance steps. The majority of steps relate to Latin American dances, although some come from all over the world. These steps are mixed in with more traditional exercise moves, such as squats and lunges, to provide an intense cardio workout.

All Zumba classes are run by qualified members of the Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN). Each Zumba teacher has their own style and performs a mixture of ZIN choreography and their own. Each class is generally one hour long, and starts with a warm-up and ends with a cool down.

To demonstrate some common Zumba steps, I am going to share some YouTube links below. As far as I know, all these links are readily available for sharing. If a link below is yours, and you do not want me sharing it, contact me and I will remove it.

Salsa is probably the step that appears the most often. We do this track (Bajo la Tormenta) and very similar choreography in class:

Merengue is another common step – often the really fast tracks are Merengue.

Here we have Cumbia steps. Another track we do in class with similar choreography.

Reggaeton, which is the Latin American version of street dancing. It’s often slow, with a strong beat.

And finally, one of my favourite tracks, Danza Kuduro, which demonstrates a few more common Zumba moves:

Many other steps and dances are used, for example: Tango, Samba, Mambo, Cha-cha, African dancing, Calypso and Bollywood. There is a lot of variety, and something for everyone.

If you, like me, struggle to find exercise you enjoy, I would thoroughly recommend giving a Zumba class a go!


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