In my previous blog post, I vowed to come out of my comfort zone in 2017 and try 12 new (or newish to me) fitness activities. On Wednesday, I took a Zumba class with several of my LIVESTRONG cancer survivor participants. For those of you who may not know, Zumba combines Latin and international music with dance moves. Sometimes we follow the instructor — and sometimes we go freestyle (yikes!). It’s a fantastic workout because the music alternates between slow and fast intensity so you can burn more fat in a short period of time. My 17-year-old son heard I was going and commented, “Isn’t that like a Mom’s dance class?” My son has seen my Elaine Benis dance moves, and I’m sure he was concerned I may embarrass myself.
The time passed quickly because I was so busy having fun. What a blast! Taylor (pictured above with me) was our instructor. She packs a powder-keg of energy in her little 5 foot body. She taught an excellent class with a combination of visual and audio cuing, which made it easier for our group of newbies.
I felt a little awkward at first, but after I loosened up, I let go and had fun. You can modify any dance move to make it easier. The guy next to me mastered taking Taylor’s big motions and making them smaller. The music pauses between songs too, so you have about 30 seconds to catch your breath and grab a drink. Each song coordinated with certain steps, and I felt like I was learning authentic Latin dances, like the Cha-cha and Samba.
My LIVESTRONG friends hung in there. They were challenged, but all persevered. Zumba class is a piece of cake after fighting cancer!
Try this class if your fitness style is adventurous. I loved it and plan to go back for more!
Need to know bullet list:
- Level: Mostly intermediate exercisers. Beginners can swing it if they have good rhythm and are willing to freestyle when they don’t know the moves. Overall, it’s a tough cardio workout. I wouldn’t recommend for someone with knee problems because of all the twisting motions.
- Footwear: You can wear athletic sneakers, but special Zumba Impact shoes may help you hit the moves better. They have a spin spot on the sole so you don’t stick and twist your knee.
- What to wear: Breathable, sweat-wicking clothing. Because you will sweat. FYI: Zumba has a whole line of funky clothing including little skirts with coins that make noise (think belly dancer). Our class was pretty conservative. No noisy coin skirts.
- Time: Usually about an hour
- Where: Indoors/Gym — my class was offered at the YMCA