Zumba is a high-energy group fitness class that, when performed correctly and regularly, can burn upwards of 500 calories in a one-hour session! Zumba was born out of a love of Latin music and dancing, intended to make fitness more fun and enjoyable.
Even so, the vigorous workout can cause injuries if you aren't physically capable or don't follow instruction. Those with certain medical condition, or those who do not regularly exercise, should consult their doctor before attending a Zumba class.
The Zumba Workout
An hour in a Zumba workout is based on high-energy dance moves and incorporates traditional exercise moves like lunges, squats and arm curls. Intense, upbeat music with a Latin flare— including merengue, salsa, mambo, flamenco and hip-hop—energizes the entire workout, with moves often flowing in time to the rhythm. Most Zumba classes begin with a warm-up and conclude with a cool-down.
Since Zumba got its start in 2001, many variations have been developed to serve many different fitness levels.
- Zumba Step incorporates a step prop
- Zumba Sentao uses a chair prop
- Zumba Toning uses toning sticks to focus on strengthening your arms and abs
- Aqua Zumba is done in a pool to provide a lower-impact workout
- Zumba Gold and Zumba Gold Toning were designed for active older adults
- Zumbini is for toddlers
- Zumba Kids Jr. serves children 4 to 6 years old
- Zumba Kids is for those age 7 to 11
Benefits of Zumba
Zumba is one of those rare all-in-one workouts that offers cardio, strength, and fun! According to HealthStatus, a 150-pound woman can burn approximately 540 calories during an hour of Zumba, which is more than you can burn jogging, Spinning, or swimming for an hour. That makes this a calorie- and fat-burning cardio workout that will leave you feeling completely energized. The actions that move you literally from head to toe, stretching and strengthening muscles and joints, qualify Zumba as a total-body workout.
To get the most from your hour of Zumba, keep your entire body moving at all times by shaking all over, moving side-to-side and engaging your arms. Zumba is fun to perform and can lift your spirits as much as it improves fitness. The positive group dynamic makes it something you want to come back to routinely.
Zumba is an intense fitness regimen that can be overwhelming for beginners or novices. Overexertion is a risk if you push too hard early on. Know and respect your own limits, and don’t worry about completing all of the moves or keeping up with seasoned dancers during your first few classes.
To reduce the risk of injury, wear cross-trainer or dance shoes built for quick and fluid lateral movements. Beware that wearing running shoes with deep sole treads, or worn out shoes, could result in a knee injury. You may feel mild discomfort during and after your first Zumba class due to engaging muscles you haven't in a while. Any greater pain, however, might be a sign of injury and should be treated immediately.
- Zumba of Michigan: Zumba ... What to Expect in Class
- Zumba Fitness: Our Classes
- HealthStatus: Calorie Burn Calculator
- Shape: 5 Ways to Burn More Fat in Zumba Class
- Vendramin B, Bergamin M, Gobbo S, et al. Health benefits of Zumba fitness training: A systematic review. PM R. 2016;8(12):1181-1200. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2016.06.010
- Araneta MR, Tanori D. Benefits of Zumba Fitness® among sedentary adults with components of the metabolic syndrome: A pilot study. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 2014;55(10):1227-1233.
- Inouye J, Nichols A, Maskarinec G, Tseng CW. A survey of musculoskeletal injuries associated with Zumba. Hawaii J Med Public Health. 2013;72(12):433-6.
- Delextrat AA, Warner S, Graham S, Neupert E. An 8-week exercise intervention based on Zumba improves aerobic fitness and psychological well-being in healthy women. J Phys Act Health. 2016;13(2):131-9. doi:10.1123/jpah.2014-0535
Joy Johnston has been an online journalist since 2005. She has served as senior producer for the health news website Sharecare and as a digital producer for the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," where she helped develop the health channel. Johnston has also covered ways to stay fit in Atlanta.