Like many women, my wife, Jane, has been attending Zumba classes for around six months now. Recently she has been asking me to come along to give my professional opinion on its health benefits, so last Saturday I finally agreed to go. For the uninitiated, Zumba is a kind of Latin American dance/aerobic exercise programme that’s becoming amazingly popular all over the world, but especially, it seems, in South Woodford! As soon as we arrived I wanted to back out as I found it just slightly intimidating to join a class with around 30 women! Well, OK there was one guy so I took my chances and hoped I wouldn’t get laughed at when I messed up and turned the opposite way to everyone else. It’s Not that I can’t dance but I’m not to hot on following a choreographed routine.
It was obvious the very enthusiastic instructor was a real dancer and I did find it difficult to keep up with her moves, every time I got the hang of a move or a step, she’d moved on to the next one but it was fun.
I had Jane wear a heart rate monitor to see exactly how hard she was working and for the first twenty minutes her heart rate was around the 140 range which means she was working in her aerobic zone. Once the fast tunes with the fast moves started her heart rate increased to the 160 range which meant she was near her anaerobic threshold. At this point I really did get left behind!
Zumba is said to be an interval training based workout which would work you between aerobic and anaerobic heart rate zones – although Jane did hit the 160 range at times, I would say it was around 90% aerobic. This would build a good base fitness level and although it would burn fat, this would be confined to the hour within the Zumba class.
My own conclusion at the end of the class was that Zumba would improve your coordination and build a good base level of fitness while enjoying yourself. Some of the women there told me they had definitely shed the pounds by doing Zumba and I’m sure the class, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, would improve overall fitness. Although saying this, Zumba is not the fastest way to melt away body fat and will not improve muscle tone or posture greatly unless combined with a good strength routine, therefore it should not be used as a complete form of exercise.
Finally, studies show that dancing can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and this craze is getting women out and exercising – it can only be a good thing!