Home Lifestyle Entertainment Ditch the workout: Burn fat with Zumba

Ditch the workout: Burn fat with Zumba


Zumba has gained popularity in Kampala. You would be hard pressed to find a gym  without a Zumba class on the menu. With this popularity it is so shocking that one gym can dare claim ownership. The dance fitness belongs to no one unless you are Alberto “Beto” Perez the gym instructor who accidentally created it back in the mid-90s. Zumba uses a combination of dance moves that you have probably seen on ‘Dancing with the Stars’: salsa, mambo, Reggaeton, cha-cha, put into a group fitness format. It allows people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and ages to gather together, crank up the music and dance their hearts out.

What to Expect in Zumba Class

Most Zumba classes are an hour long. They begin with a dynamic warm-up and end with a cool down and some static stretching. The workout portion is broken down by song, each with a different dance routine.

While many of the dance moves instructors use are prechoreographed by Zumba, instructors often add their own flair, dance steps or even create an entirely new routine to their favorite songs. Common moves in class are mambas, V-steps with exaggerated hips, chacha-chas and side touches.

Unlike other aerobics classes, where you learn a move and then add on more moves to create a routine, Zumba uses different parts of the song, such as the chorus or a particular phrase or sound in  the song, as the basis of its choreography.

Also, if like me, you, find your gym instructor’s voice a bit distracting and irritating, you will love this class because the instructors don’t speak much. Instead they cue you on what to do with hand signals of which direction to move, or. a loud hand clap that signifies that it’s time to move to a new move. Overall, participants learn as they go through repetition and by example.

Dressing for zumba

It’s important to wear clothing that is moveable, breathable and will wick sweat away. Make sure you are wearing appropriate shoes. Any thin-soled sneakers or comfortable workout shoes will do. Avoid running shoes, which tend to have thick treads, as they are designed for forward movement only. The treads get in your way when doing Zumba’s many side-to-side and pivoting movements. Instructors recommend shock absorbent cross-trainers with sufficient ankle support, which helps you pivot easily without sticking to the floor.


Zumba teachers are taught to alternate fast and slow rhythms, which simulate interval or high intensity training.

Short, high-intensity intervals have been found to be much better for your heart and overall fitness than extended cardio. During a class, you engage many muscles, but you are often unaware that you’re incorporating traditional fitness moves like squats and lunges because you are so engrossed in the music and dance.

Whether you’re young or old, fit or not, it can be a fun and challenging workout from head to toe.

In 2012, a team of exercise scientists were commissioned to determine whether or not Zumba fitness holds up as an effective workout. The study was funded by a grant from the American Council on Exercise (ACE). The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Department of Exercise and Sports Science set out to determine the average exercise intensity and energy expenditure of a typical Zumba class.

They found that participants burned an average of 369 calories in a single class, or about 9.5 kcal per minute.

Participants’ average heart rate was 154 beats per minute, which is roughly 80% of their average, predicted maximum heart rate.

When heart rate monitor strips were examined, they looked much like interval workouts,going back and forth between high intensity and low intensity.

Therefore, Zumba can help you burn more calories than a steady state exercise, such as jogging.

In comparison with other exercises tested by the University of Wisconsin, Zumba burned more calories than cardio kickboxing, step aerobics, hooping, and power yoga which suggests that Zumba can be a highly effective total-body workout with a wide range of benefits.


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