Have you ever walked by a gym studio and seen a group of energetic people exuberantly dancing to exciting Latin music? What you saw was quite probably a Zumba class.
Zumba Fitness is a Latin-inspired dance-fitness program. It’s an addictive mix of red-hot international music and contagious steps that in many ways mimics nightclub dancing. In fact, Zumba was created by accident, when the founder, Alberto Perez, forgot his music for aerobics class and improvised with the Latin music he had on hand in his backpack.
Since its inception in 2001, the number of studios offering Zumba have grown rapidly to over 110,000 locations across more than 125 countries. Zumba is everywhere. In fact, I’ve taken Zumba on cruise ships, in martial arts studios and at resorts across the country and in Mexico!
The music offered in these kid-centric classes is geared towards the younger set, featuring hip-hop, reggaeton, and cumbia.
Dana Walsh, a Zumba instructor in the New York area for four years, says that Zumbatomic classes offer special benefits for children. “It teaches children coordination, various music rhythms, promotes muscle memory and motor skills. Like Zumba, Zumbatomic also promotes a fun atmosphere, which is great for children. Children don’t want to workout, they want to have fun, and I think Zumbatomic is an outlet for this.”
Ande Frayser, a Hagerstown, MD mother, has found Zumba to be a tremendous benefit in her weight loss endeavors, saying that it’s helped her lose close to 80 pounds. Her three children were so impressed with her results that they elected to start taking Zumba classes as well, and they have all seen similar results. She reports, “My son was obese but his weight has dropped dramatically with Zumba and he is slimming up while building muscle- the change is very dramatic. My daughters have lost inches and gained muscle, which weighs more than fat, so the numbers on the scales are not that dramatically different but they both went down in clothing- one from a size 12 to a size 8 and the other from a size 8 to a size 4/6.” She credits the classes with an improvement in her children’s confidence, an increase in motivation to care for themselves, and a desire to see other children become active in exercise.
With the increasing rates of obesity that we see in today’s youth, it has become apparent that we need to find a fun exercise activity in which children will want to participate. Zumba fitness classes seem to be a great choice.