ZUMBA ORIGINS

Zumba is a dance and fitness program created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Pérez during the 1990s. Beto, who was an aerobics instructor, forgot to bring his music to one of his classes. He, seeing that he did not have music for his regular aerobics’ classes, decided to randomly play Latin music and began to dance for the participants to follow him. By the end of class, everyone was so excited about the new choreography that he continued to teach it, calling it Rumbacize.

Then, in 2001, Perez decided to get together with Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion, to officially launch Zumba on the market. According to the official Zumba website, this fitness class is found in 180 countries, with 15 million Zumba instructors, and in more than 200,000 locations.

HOW DOES IT WORK

If you have ever participated in a Zumba class, you will realize that it is inspired by Latin music where rhythms like salsa, merengue, reggaeton and cumbia are being played. However, there are other rhythms like tango, flamenco, pop, and many more that are being played as well. Usually, a Zumba class lasts between 50 and 60 minutes, in which you will perform warm-up, toning, cardio, balance and flexibility exercises with music that you have probably heard on the radio or at a dance party. In addition, you will work your legs, buttocks, arms, waist, and abs.

There are several types of Zumba classes, and each one is aimed at a specific objective, such as Zumba gold, and Aqua Zumba that focus on a lower intensity and less impact on the joints for older adults.

BENEFITS

There are several benefits on taking a Zumba class. Among those we find:

1. In a Zumba class you will work your entire body, from your arms to your feet.
2. You will burn calories and fat.
3. You will tone your body and gain more physical strength.
4. Besides losing weight, Zumba can help you reduce your risk of heart disease, and reduce your blood pressure.
5. You will have the opportunity to meet new people and socialize, which is an essential factor to live happier.

MY EXPERIENCE WITH ZUMBA

Growing up in Colombia taught me to appreciate music and dance from a very young age. I used to dance in high school and join dancing groups for fun. Zumba has been a part of my journey for about 15 years. It all started when I used Zumba to lose weight. My aunt and I used to play the Zumba class on a cd we bought online. It was pretty fun, but nothing compared to attending a Zumba class. Even though doing Zumba did not continue for all in 2020 with the pandemic, Zumba reappeared in my life when I decided to join a virtual Zumba class that a friend from Spain was offering. Since then, Zumba has been part of a self-healing journey to healing my rheumatoid arthritis.

Working at the Y has its benefits, not only do you get to have fun while you work, but you can get access to work out and join the classes and programs that the Y offers to its members. I had the opportunity to get invited to Zumba Gold with Shannon, my Zumba mentor, and I couldn’t say no! So, for the last four weeks, I have been attending Shannon classes at the Desert Foothills Family YMCA on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The class is always packed, people come on time, and all you can see is laughter, smiles, and so much happiness! All I can tell is that it has been super fun, and I have met beautiful people, and I know I am not the only one that feels this way.

A couple weeks ago, one of the Zumba Gold participants wrote an email expressing the following about Shannon class:

“I love it and it is a great workout on the same level as Jazzercise! I am so glad I had a chance to try it several months ago when Shannon substituted at the 10 AM HIGH Fitness class. My only wish is that there would be Zumba 4x/ week, lol!!

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Shannon. She makes that class so energizing and modifiable for all! Everyone gets fully into the music and the steps! I know I get a great workout! Shannon is so good with us, all due to her fun personality, her cool choreography, and great spirit!

Anyway, I love the class and can’t wait until Thursday!”

TRY ZUMBA AT THE Y!

No matter your age, your size, your experience, Zumba Class is open to everybody! Once you try Zumba you won’t go back, I promise!

Zumba is offered at various YMCA locations throughout Arizona. To register or get more information, please contact your nearest Y.