SALT LAKE CITY — I finally made it to the wildly popular Zumba class at Silver Mountain Sports Club in Park City. After weeks of peering into a room full of sweaty but smiling ladies shaking and gyrating to pumping music, I decided it was high time to join the dance party.
Zumba: Here to stay, or just another fleeting fad?
Zumba has shimmied its way into the top 10 fitness trends for the coming year, according to a survey by the American College of Sports Medicine. This super-charged dance workout fuses hip hop, merengue, salsa, flamenco, belly dancing and other international dances, leaving participants winded and sweaty.
First introduced in Colombia in the '90s, today more than 12 million people flock to packed Zumba classes every week, according to an article in "USA Today." Its popularity is no surprise. After all, it's a fun workout that doesn't feel like work. When you hear the music, you just want to start tapping your toes to the beat. And there are classes for all fitness levels.
Hey… Guys? Wait up!
So how did it go, you ask? Let's just put in this way: It was fun, and I won't be invited to "Dancing with the Stars" any time soon!
After a simple, easy-to-follow warmup to a Lady Gaga song, the Latin beats started bumping. That's when the footwork got tricky. It would have been easier to follow if I had posted myself behind the instructor or someone who knew what she was doing, but instead I chose my favorite inconspicuous spot across the room by the window. I was constantly craning my neck to see what the instructor was doing.
Each dance was energetic — and quick! Often, I found myself a couple of beats behind, clapping my hands and shaking to the left while everyone else was shimmying to the right. No matter; it was plenty of fun and a great way to break out of my comfort zone and try something new.
Is Zumba a calorie burner?
Did I sweat? A bit, but I probably didn't burn nearly as many calories as someone who really knows the moves. I can see how it could be a good cardio workout with some practice. Experts say a person can burn anywhere from 400 to 1,000 calories during an hour-long class.
Final words of advice
If you want to break out of your same old, boring workout rut, give Zumba a try. Strategically position yourself behind the instructor or an experienced Zumba pro, channel your inner Shakira and just have fun.
Have you tried Zumba yet?
Perched on a mountaintop at 8,000 feet where the air is fresh and the thinking clear, Melissa makes important health information accessible, understandable and enjoyable.