Friday, January 6, 2012

Ready, set, Zumba!



         Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to do everything that you want to do. Often, we have to choose between doing something that we want to do, and something that we ought to do. Now that the New Year has officially commenced, many of us have made resolutions to go back to the gym, while a lot of us have promised that we will make more time for ourselves! Which one of those people are you?  If you had to choose between going out dancing with your friends, and working out, what would you do? Depending on what your goals are, both of these options could sound great to you. You could leave both scenarios either saying: 

     a)  I just got back from dancing with my friends! We alternated between salsa, hip-hop, merengue and even some belly dancing. It was so much fun!

     b)  I just got back from such an intense aerobic workout! I worked out my abs, core, complete lower body, and did a ton of cardio—what a great workout!

        But what if I told you that they are both responses to the same activity, and you could be saying both of those things? Do I have your attention now? Many people look at going to the gym, going for a run, or working out as a chore, or a dreaded activity. Sticking to a workout plan and getting the most out of your time exercising largely depends on your attitude. If you dread it, you may be looking for ways to justify not going to the gym, or you may do the bare minimum just to say that you exercised, and then leave. If you truly enjoyed your workout, why wouldn’t you do it as much as possible? You would.

          That is why Zumba is such a rising trend in the vast and expanding world of fitness. ‘Accidentally’ created by Alberto Perlman and Beto Perez, many refer to Zumba as a “fitness party” or a “dance party”. In fact, Zumba instructors are actually trained to not give too much verbal criticism as to not dampen the positive mood and the fun of the participants. Zumba is a great mix of fun, learning, and exercise—it appeals to so many different people. From those who just love dancing, to those who want to get better at dancing, to people who want to exercise, this combines all of those categories. Not to mention, you do not need a partner for Zumba, you can just show up alone and dance the night away judgment free! Perhaps this is why Perlman has said, "Zumba is liberating and magical.”

          Zumba’s choreography dance styles vary depending on the instructor, or class you are taking. The dancing styles include, but are not limited to, hip-hop, soca, merengue, belly dancing, mambo, salsa, samba, squats, lunges, and even martial arts! One of the coolest parts of Zumba is how much it has grown in the past 5 years or so—Zumba is now available for all ages and thrill seekers! One can take a Zumba class, a Zumba Gold class, classes designed either for active older adults, or for beginner exercisers, Aqua Zumba classes (in the water), Zumba Toning classes in which you use sticks to incorporate different parts of the body, as well as Zumbatomic for children between 4-12 years of age! All of that being said, it is not surprising that for the first time ever, Zumba has cracked the top-10 of the 2012 fitness trend projections list.

          Next time you are thinking about whether you feel like exercising, or doing something fun—do both! If you are feeling tired, instead of vegging on the couch, put on your gym pants and dancing shoes, grab your Phix Energy stix and shake a leg!


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