Imagine yourself standing in an empty room. Take two generous steps forward, then come back to center. Now take two equally generous steps backwards, and again return to center. Repeat going to your left and then to your right. You’ve now covered the entire amount of space necessary for a Zumba workout.
Zumba workouts involve low-impact dance moves, but in a confined amount of space. One of the first things we did in class before we got started was stretch our arms out and make sure we didn’t hit anyone standing next to us. We were asked to stagger, just for good measure, and to repeat the arm-stretch test.
The Zumba class I attended was a full 60 minutes. 20% of the class were men. For a group dance class, I thought that was high. But I confess to not going to a lot of dance classes. The class participants ranged in age from their early 20s to 70s (this information was gathered using my carnival age guessing precision…and no, I’ve never worked at a carnival, but I think it would be awesome!). No one dropped out. I thought for sure one of the little old ladies up front would call it quits after 30 minutes, but clearly they had more stamina than I gave them credit for.
The instructor didn’t use verbal cues. We were expected to mimic her movements along with her. She would hold up one or two fingers to indicate the number of steps to the right or left as the combination became more complex. From time to time she would smile and encourage us to remember to smile too. There was very little being ‘talked at’, the instructor wasn’t correcting anyone’s form and her approach came off as more of, “we’re here to have fun, dance, not be perfect and get a great workout.”
I spent a lot of energy focusing on the steps and making sure I didn’t bump into anyone around me. I had flashbacks to my days in ballet where I could never remember the choreography across the floor. Or if I did remember the steps, I was so nervous about executing them perfectly that I didn’t enjoy the practice itself. Thanks for bringing back those painful memories, Zumba. I won’t hold it against you.
My favorite part about Zumba? The music. No question. There was Latin dance music. Music I’m not usually exposed too. And she even threw in some Bollywood music, which I love.
If you’ve never been to a Zumba workout before, preparation is very simple. Come-as-you-are in whatever your gym attire usually is. Lycra or no lycra, gym shorts and t-shirts, sports bra and running shorts…just make sure you have a comfortable pair of shoes, clothes that won’t chafe (stay away from form-fitting anything) you and a water bottle.
Interested in trying Zumba? Got questions? Hit me up on my contact form.