Dancing is one form of exercise that helps keep you fit, and healthy. “The healing power of dance is recognized across the globe,” quotes Shainna Ali Ph.D., LMHC. One of the fun and exciting options to do this is Zumba.
Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance exercise program that is a combination of flamenco, salsa, samba, meringue, belly-dancing with a bit of hip-hop incorporated in the choreography. Rather than following a strict pattern of aerobics exercises, Zumba’s approach focuses more on dancing and constant motion that is designed to make it simple and easy for everyone of all ages to follow. Upbeat music is played during classes or sessions. It provides a more enjoyable atmosphere as if you are in a dance party.
The dance steps in workout sessions alternate between slow, low-intensity and fast, high-intensity level, and are aimed at increasing heart rate and burning calories.
Helps Lose Weight and Keep You Fit
The movements included in a Zumba exercise program increase one’s metabolism that makes it a gratifying and effective way to lose weight. A 40-minute Zumba session can burn approximately 370 calories and cut down body fat by 1%.
What It Does for Your Body
Zumba dance moves are devised for strengthening certain areas of the body. The routines often focus on hip and midsection movement which helps reinforce your core. Hip-hop jumps, bouncing and hops integrated into the choreography focus more on toning leg muscles.
Stretches and bending are often included in the dance steps, which can play a significant role in improving flexibility. The easier and less-straining movements in a routine enhance endurance so Zumba may not only help you lose weight but may also help improve your physical condition.
Good for the Heart
Like any other exercise program, Zumba provides an exceptional cardio workout. This doesn’t only heighten heart rate but also toughens heart muscles. Regular exercise lowers the risk of developing heart disease and keeps your blood pressure at a normal level.
An Effective Stress Reliever
Since Zumba promotes a fun approach to exercise, it works in enlivening your mood and emotions and reducing stress. The constant movement involved in the program helps expel endorphins that may influence positive feelings. The happier you are, the less stressful you become. “Pain, stress, and anxiety often go hand in hand with depression. Dance, music and related expressive forms of therapy could help lessen mental fluctuations even before the onset of full depression,” Hanna Poikonen, Ph.D. said.
Strong Mind, Strong Brain
Zumba and dance exercises in general help improve memory by stimulating the development of brain cells and new blood vessels. Keeping your brain healthy may hinder cognitive decline. According to dance psychologist Dr. Peter Lovatt, “The motor cortex, located at the rear of the frontal lobe, is involved in the planning, control, and execution of voluntary movements. Meanwhile, the basal ganglia, a set of structures deep within the brain, works with the motor cortex to trigger well-coordinated movements. The cerebellum, at the back of the skull, also performs several roles, including integrating information from our senses so that movements are perfectly fluid and precise.”
Recommended for All Ages
Since the intensity of a Zumba workout is best maintained at an average level, anyone of any age can enjoy it and reap tremendous benefits. You don’t have to be a good dancer to take part in a Zumba session. It maintains a simple regime that makes it easy for anyone to follow the dance moves.
Do Take Precaution
Although Zumba only has a few requirements and even individuals with physical restrictions can participate, it is still best to take precaution. Despite having a medium intensity level, Zumba exercises can be switched to high-impact levels, which may pose risks to anyone with high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, kidney problems and back problems such as osteoporosis. It is advisable to consult with your physician before engaging in this activity.
If you find aerobics too straining but would still like to consider having regular exercise, try doing Zumba and get into the groove. You might not just be keeping your body fit and healthy, but you may find yourself having fun as well.