With its simple moves, emphasis on beats and rhythm, and numerous health benefits, it’s not surprising that everyone loves Zumba. Its choreography, based on elements from salsa, belly dancing, hip-hop, and samba, is easy to follow even for absolute beginners. This great exercise-in-disguise is especially appealing to those who dread going to the gym because the workout is simple, fun, and exciting. Here’s how Zumba can do wonders for your health and well-being.
1. Weight Management: Lose Those Extra Pounds And Excess Body Fat
This is the most obvious one! A 2015 study found that women who were obese and/or had type 2 diabetes lost about 2.5 pounds and decreased their body fat by 1% by doing Zumba just thrice a week for 16 weeks. Participants in the study enjoyed their workout so much that they made it a habit – something that’s a challenge for most people. They kept going, had fun, made friends, and reported that they didn’t consider Zumba to be hard work.1
A typical 40 minute Zumba class burns about 370 calories, which is the same number of calories you’d burn if you biked for 40 minutes at 15 mph. In terms of intensity, although Zumba can’t compete with high-intensity interval training, it goes head-to-head with moderate forms of activity like kickboxing and step aerobics.2
2. Physical Conditioning: Become More Supple And Strong
Zumba tones, tightens, and conditions your entire body and stretches your muscles – even ones you didn’t know you had! In a recent study, participants who did Zumba twice a week for just 8 weeks reported better trunk strength endurance or ability to use their abdominal and lower back muscles to support their bodies without feeling tired. Their dynamic balance also increased, allowing them to maintain better postural control when moving. They had a better quality of life overall.3
3. Heart Health: Keep Your Heart Strong And Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Zumba makes for an excellent cardio workout because it is an aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercises like Zumba elevate your heart rate and breathing rate in order to pump more oxygenated blood to your body, which in turn strengthens your heart muscles. In fact, doctors often recommend Zumba classes to patients who need moderate aerobic exercise in order to maintain heart health and prevent the onset of heart disease.4
4. Psychological Well-Being: Feel Happy, Energized, And Empowered
Not only does Zumba help you improve your physical fitness, it also promotes feelings of well-being and leaves you invigorated and energized. Research has shown that performing Zumba three times a week for 8 weeks led to significant improvements not just in muscular development and aerobic fitness, but also self-perceptions of physical strength and feelings of autonomy. The participants also felt a greater sense of purpose.5
5. Stress Relief: Shake Off The Nerves, Tension, And Anxiety
Zumba has been scientifically proven to elevate one’s mood and lower stress levels. It does so by stimulating the production of the feel-good hormone serotonin.6 As with any form of exercise, Zumba also helps release endorphins in your body, leading to feelings of happiness and higher energy levels.7
6. Cognitive Skills: Amp Up The Brainpower
Researchers believe that doing Zumba promotes the development of new neural pathways which can enhance your cognitive skills, including decision-making, spatial and visual recognition, and memory recall.8 When you do Zumba, you give your brain cells a good workout too!
Make The Most Of Your Zumba Routine: Dos And Don’ts
Wear the right shoes. Shoes for Zumba should not have grips on the sole to allow for multi-directional movement and should offer good arch support and flexibility. Running shoes are not ideal for Zumba because they don’t allow you to pivot – and you’ll need to pivot.9
Keep yourself hydrated. Zumba’s high-velocity moves can work up quite a sweat and make you thirsty. Make sure to take a water bottle with you and stop often to take a sip.
Know your body. Only push yourself as much as you comfortably can. Avoid moves that are too difficult or dangerous even if people around you are doing it. Don’t push yourself too hard, and slow down or stop if you start to feel very uncomfortably short of breath.
Zumba Can Be High-Impact: Be Cautious If You Have Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Or Osteoporosis
Zumba is technically an interval workout. This means a typical Zumba class will switch gears between low- and high-intensity moves that are designed to burn more calories and promote flexibility. Although Zumba can be adjusted to meet almost any physical restriction and/or fitness level, there are a handful of precautions to keep in mind:
- People with heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, emphysema, asthma, arthritis or osteoporosis should always consult with their doctor before starting any high-intensity workouts, including Zumba.
- Zumba involves quick movements, bouncing, jumping around, and other moves that are considered high-impact. So if your range of movement does not allow for high-impact movements, check with your doctor if Zumba is safe for you.
- Older people and/or people with bone-related conditions may be prone to tripping and falling while doing Zumba because of its fairly fast moves.
Zumba is a versatile total-body workout that also happens to be insanely fun to do. And, as you groove to its intoxicating beats, you’ll burn calories and improve your overall health, endurance, and coordination without even realizing it! Now how many exercises can say that?
|↑1||Krishnan, Sridevi, Theresa N. Tokar, Mallory M. Boylan, Kent Griffin, Du Feng, Linda Mcmurry, Christina Esperat, and Jamie A. Cooper. “Zumba® dance improves health in overweight/obese or type 2 diabetic women.” American journal of health behavior 39, no. 1 (2015): 109-120.|
|↑2||Why Zumba Is Insanely Good Exercise. Time.|
|↑3||Donath, Lars, Ralf Roth, Yannick Hohn, Lukas Zahner, and Oliver Faude. “The effects of Zumba training on cardiovascular and neuromuscular function in female college students.” European journal of sport science 14, no. 6 (2014): 569-577.|
|↑4||The best heart healthy workouts for your 60s 70s and 80s. Harvard University.|
|↑5||Delextrat, Anne A., Sarah Warner, Sarah Graham, and Emma Neupert. “An 8-week Exercise Intervention Based on Zumba Improves Aerobic Fitness and Psychological Well-Being in Healthy Women.” Journal of Physical Activity and Health 13, no. 2 (2016): 131-139.|
|↑6||Strength in movement. Harvard Gazette.|
|↑7||Exercise Your Way Through Stress with ZUMBA. University of Washington.|
|↑8||Dancing and the Brain. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑9||Zumba Away, but Avoid Injury. The New York Times.|