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Zumba: The Happy Pill of Women’s Fitness

Fitness - Entertainment

 

DANCE-FITNESS WAS NOT MY BAG

I’m a group fitness junkie, but dance-fitness in particular can be a hard sell for me. To be perfectly honest, I’m not very graceful and feel foolish when my footwork is out of sync with everyone else in class. Normally, I choose the no pain, no gain approach and grunt out push-ups in boot camp instead of getting fit through dancing.If I can’t do it right, what’s the point?

This is how I felt until I read an article about U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and realized I was missing something. When questioned about her exercise regimen in the New York Times, Benjamin answered: “I want exercise to be fun; don’t want it to be work…I want us to get back to doing things because they’re fun.”

My grand epiphany from Benjamin’s insight is that dance isn’t work in the same way other fitness disciplines are, and that you can’t worry about getting all the steps right because the most important thing is to let go and enjoy it. I decided to take the plunge and head over to Red Bean Studios in Manhattan’s neighborhood of Chelsea to experience my first Zumba class taught by Misty Clark of M Dance & Fitness.

ZUMBA IS ADDICTING EVEN IF YOU CAN'T DANCE

Just in case you haven’t heard, Zumba is the hottest dance-fitness trend to hit in years. It’s a Latin-inspired, calorie-burning program of short dance sequences set to an array of international beats, from salsa to bhangra. Launched in 2001 by onetime aerobic instructor, Alberto "Beto" Perez, Zumba is a global movement that’s extremely popular with women.

The word on the street is that once they try it, women get hooked on Zumba, so it’s no surprise that my class is entirely comprised of women. As soon as the music starts, my class is brought to life with the help of the instructor’s easy-to-follow lead. My female counterparts go with the flow, letting their personality and style dictate each move. There’s no strain, no sacrifice and no grunting. The dance sequences are so fluid that mess ups go unnoticed. Check out Zumba ladies shimmying in one of Misty's classes below.

Zumba fitness class Misty Clark MizzFIT

After class, Misty tells me that it takes three to four weeks for women to feel completely comfortable with the steps, but she likes to keep the choreography fresh anyway. It’s not about precision or mastery; women find their own groove in Zumba and that’s why they come back. The rhythm and variety of Zumba inspires women to let go of stress, have fun and dance.

Even though Zumba is a great core workout that burns hundreds of calories, women are finding allure in its mood-boosting benefits. This is the main draw for Surgeon General Benjamin, who calls dance exercise “better than most pills.”For once, fitness is about happiness--not weight loss. This is a huge step in the right direction for health and wellness measures in the US. It’s hard to say no to fitness that’s fun.

It's also hard to say no to $5 Zumba classes at M Dance & Fitness in NYC! Especially when they usually cost $15. Throughout the month of February, receive a MizzFIT Reader discount for $5 Zumba classes at M Dance & Fitness when you use this code at checkout: MZF2011. The MizzFIT Reader discount code is good for 1 class only per person. Sign up for class HERE.

HOW TO STYLE UP 4 ZUMBA & GET IN THE GROOVE

Style Up 2 Shape Up for Zumba by dressing in bright, Latin-inspired layers that you can shed as your body heats up in class. Definitely choose fitness tights, leggings or capris, especially if it's your first time in class. You'll be moving around a lot--lifting your limbs and shaking your torso so I recommend pants for maximum coverage and comfort. I like these Studio Performance Tights from Adidas by Stella McCartney because the floral mesh detailing makes them more formal and fun than a basic black fitness pant.

Feeling flexible, ventillated and light on your feet for quick movements (i.e. shuffles, twists, turns, shakes) and energetic transitions is of utmost importance. Go for light and stretchy layers versus restricting ones like the Tri-Tank Top by Jo&Jax.  Polish your look off with a fitted meSheeky fitness skirt for a twirly, feminine touch. These Ryka Sync Shoes are made for dancing; they're lightweight with a satin floral exterior that beats your clunky sneakers. Get inspired and find your groove with my favorite Zumba soundtrack: Party Nation: World Music By Zumba Fitness. Enjoy and shake away!

Zumba fashion trend music

**This article in shorter form was featured on Fox News Latino Online HERE

 

written by Bianca Jade a.k.a Mizzfit

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Say what's on your mind!

9 comments
Sandy February 5th, 2011 4:37PM

You should check out www.zclubny.com
Premier zumba instructors!!!
after my wrist injury in 2007, all I could do was zumba... At first, I was a clutz, I am still a clutz... but it is a great workout... So, I am really grateful to zumba for getting me to the gym.

MizzFIT February 7th, 2011 7:41AM

OMG, ZCLUBNY is SO RAD! Thank you so much for telling me about it. I love that there's a local directory just for ZUMBA! I'm actually going to list it in my best classes workout directory so that other women can access it for a range of Zumba fun. How often do you Zumba and do you feel like you're a little less of a clutz now that you've been doing it for a while? What do you wear to class? Thanks so much for commenting here!

-MizzFIT

Edmee Cherdieu February 21st, 2011 12:27PM

hi,

I just saw your website...i'd love to invite to come try one of our class at ZclubNY.
Check out our website www.zclubny.com and let me know when you would like to come party with us.
You can email me directly at Edmee@zclubny.com
Hope to see you there!
Edmee

Monica Crowe February 22nd, 2011 1:24PM

I also have two left feet and tend to shy away from dance-type fitness, but I tried a Zumba class recently and LOVED it. I'm also loving your site, which I just found, and have checked out your excellent workout clothes recommendations. I'll definitely be back.

Ciao! Monica C.

MizzFIT February 23rd, 2011 6:03AM

Monica,

Sounds like we're soul sisters! Thank you for the kind comment you've left here and keep on rockin' in Zumba! You are always welcome on MizzFIT.com and I hope to read more of your comments on other posts. Have a wonderful day!

MizzFIT February 24th, 2011 8:33AM

Hi Edmee,

I know all about your site and love it! And all I have to say is I'm in! I sent you a direct email and look forwarding to connecting about finding a new fun class to experience. Thanks so much for thinking of me and have a great day!

MizzFIT

Edmee Cherdieu February 28th, 2011 9:18AM

Are you around tomorrow night...we are having a ZUMBA PARTY @ Sob's.I'd be happy to have you as a guest :)let me know if you can attend...we are having every one of our instructors do a songs with a live DJ....it's going to be a lot of fun and dancing!
Call me at Z Club @ 347-7092582 ....i did not get your email :(
can you resend it @ Edmee@Zclubny.com
A bientot!

Ann March 31st, 2011 7:23PM

I take dancing lessons 5 years. It gives fine mood.

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