What Is Zumba Dance Exercise All About?

By Sarah Densmore

If you want to join a Zumba class, leave your aerobic step, exercise ball, and 1-2-3-count at home. Bring your dancing feet, gyrating hips, and a desire to move like you’re in a Miami discotheque.

Zumba sessions combine Latin music with popular Latin dances such as salsa, mambo, merengue, and samba. Don’t worry if you’re not a Latin ballroom trophy holder. Just keep kicking your legs and swaying your arms.

Unlike a traditional aerobics class, you don’t have to worry about stepping or clapping in perfect time. Zumba movements are more free flowing. After a Zumba class, you’ll feel less like you marched in a boot camp drill and more like you let yourself go at a party.

Expect to spend about an hour in your Zumba workout. Your instructor, who should be certified through the Zumba Fitness Academy, will take you through a warm up, routine, and cool down. There are thousands of Zumba workout video clips online.

Wear clothes you can easily stretch in but that aren’t so baggy they end up getting in your way. You’re going to work up a sweat, so don’t forget your towel and a generous bottle of water.

There are several different Zumba workouts to choose from, depending on your tastes and fitness level.

  • Aqua: Combine the easy-on-the-joints benefits of water aerobics with the exhilaration of Latin dance.

  • Basic 1 or 2: You’ll combine the steps of merengue, salsa, cumbia, and reggaeton into your Basic 1 workout. In Basic 2, you’ll exercise using belly dance, flamenco, tango, and samba movements.

  • Gold: This class is for older folks or people who want to ease back into shape.

  • Toning: You’ll incorporate weighted Zumba sticks into your workout.

  • Zumbatonic: Your whole family can get in on the action if you enroll your kids in these classes for 4 to 12 year olds.

With instructors leading classes in 50,000 locations across the globe, it shouldn’t be too hard to find some type of Zumba class in your area. You can search available classes at Zumba Fitness.