I used to really hate exercise (like of any kind!), obviously I knew I needed to do it and wanted to be able to have fun doing it, but I really couldn’t understand people who actually enjoyed exercise. But my whole outlook (and fitness levels) changed when I found Zumba! I have been an avid fan of Zumba for the past three years and yesterday going to my first class in the new year made me feel so good, that I have to tell everyone the reasons why!
1. YOU GO FOR FUN, NOT JUST EXERCISE
Like I did, you may go to your first class because you really want to get fit, lose weight etc. but very soon, whilst you are obviously still going to get fit, you realise that even if you didn’t burn a single calorie, you would still go just to dance! And that my friends is the key to a successful fitness routine, as you will never keep up an exercise unless you enjoy it for more than just the exercise’s sake.
2. YOU BURN LOADS OF CALORIES WITHOUT REALISING
In a typical hour of zumba you burn between 350 and 700 calories! Not too shabby. And on top of that, unlike exercises that target certain muscle groups, Zumba is a full body workout which gets you arms, legs, hips and everything else working. But what makes it amazing is that you are having so much fun dancing and concentrating on following the instructors steps that you don’t realise you are exercising. Plus the loud music means you don’t hear when you’re breathing heavily, which I think makes a huge difference!
3. EXERCISING WITH OTHER PEOPLE IS GREAT
Being in a room full of other people makes the atmosphere infectious and everyone bounces off everyone else’s positive energy. Be it someone singing along to their favourite tune or raising the roof with their favourite dance move – other people’s enjoyment raises your the levels of your own! Also making friends in a class is another great motivator for coming to class and staying committed.
4. ENTHUSIASTIC INSTRUCTORS MOTIVATE YOU TO NEW HEIGHTS
Enthusiastic instructors, who are often a little bit crazy, are a key ingredient to a fantastic class, so if you don’t feel inspired by yours, then find another class! However, in my experience nearly all the instructors I’ve had have been the kind of people who are always smiling and yelling at the top of their lungs to the music. Another plus is that instructors can be motivating as people too, as they clearly love what they do and inspire you to do something that you love in life as well.
For me music really makes or breaks my enjoyment of exercise. Without any music I become painfully aware of how out of breath I am and how I just want to stop moving. But when you’re in a room dancing to tracks at full volume – your mood skyrockets and you no longer worry about silly things like breathing. In my classes you’ll get anything from Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Spice Girls, Spanish songs I’ve never heard of to Bollywood, Brazilian Carnival then on to Will Smith or Beyonce! Dancing to these songs never brings you down.
6. YOU NEVER LEAVE IN A WORSE MOOD THAN WHEN YOU STARTED
I have never left a Zumba class feeling rubbish! Often just before I enter the room, I may be feeling tired, stressed or upset, which all makes me feel like working out is the last thing I want to do. But the moment the first track starts playing, the endorphins kick in and my love for dance and music and good company takes over!
7. YOU CAN EASILY IMPROVE WHICH FEELS GREAT
Unlike some exercises, where it is difficult to feel a great sense of achievement. With every new song comes a chance to nail a step you could never quite manage before, or remember what moves come next, until eventually you know the routine backwards or you are capable of not doing the whole thing backwards to everyone else!
8. YOU LOSE YOUR INHIBITIONS
Zumba is all about dancing like no one else is watching. It is judgement free! If you ever feel like someone is judging your moves or your size, a) they’re probably not and just trying to see what the instructors are doing but b) if you feel judged, find another class, as ain’t nobody got time for that! Honestly I love Zumba because no one cares what you look like, how old you are or how well you dance. Everyone is just there to have a great time!
9. YOU IMPROVE YOUR FLEXIBILITY NOT JUST FITNESS
Unlike some exercises that only build your muscle, cool downs and stretching at the end of a class increase your flexibility at an amazing rate! Why does this matter? Because doing our stretches right means that we have a much faster rate of recovery from injuries (trust me, I just seem to bounce back from falls out and about) and none of us will need walking sticks when we’re 80! Plus, stretches give you 5 minutes of meditation to just relax and think about absolutely nothing, which you’re unlikely to schedule in for yourself!
10. YOU FIND SOMETHING THAT CARES FOR YOUR BODY AND SOUL!
After reading all the reasons above, you’ve tried out Zumba and you love it! You are staying fit and healthy, boosting your immune system (seriously colds just die after a zumba class) and constantly being inspired by those around you, whilst dancing to some pretty awesome tunes!
Lots of love,