What Is Zumba (And Why Is It So Great For You)?
For some people, going for a run or heading to the gym seems to come naturally. For others, even just the idea of exercising is too much. You know that exercising is great for your health, but you just don’t want to do it. Or perhaps you’ve grown bored of your usual workout routine and are looking for new ways to spice it up.
Finding ways to move that you genuinely enjoy is the best way to keep active. Movement doesn’t always have to mean lifting weights, or hardcore cardio – it could be rock climbing, hiking, or even dancing. Anything that gets your heart beating faster and muscles moving is good for your body and mind, even if it doesn’t seem like exercise, or fit in with more stereotypical ideas of what exercise looks like.
If you’re struggling to find an exercise you enjoy and can stick to, why not give Zumba a go? It’s great for anyone who loves to bop, dance, and move their feet to music.
In this blog, we look at what Zumba fitness classes are and why you should add them into your routine.
What is Zumba?
Zumba is a fitness brand best known for their Latin dance fitness class, also named Zumba, that mixes low- and high-intensity dance moves and exercises like squats to create an interval style workout that burns fat, tones and conditions, and improves overall fitness endurance.
Zumba was founded in the US in 2001 and has grown massively in popularity since then – you can now find Zumba in over 200 countries! We run Zumba classes in most of our UK based gyms.
What are the benefits of Zumba?
With so many ways to work out, you might be wondering why Zumba deserves your attention. We’ve covered some of the benefits in more detail below, but in a nutshell, Zumba classes provide a full body workout that tones and conditions, in a fun and accessible format.
Burns calories and fat
Zumba is an interval style workout that gets your whole body moving, and as a result is great for burning calories and fat. While the exact number of calories burned in a Zumba class varies depending on several factors, including length of class, your weight, and how intensely you work out, one study found that a 30-40 minute class burns 369 calories on average . For an hour of Zumba, it’s possible to burn up to 700 – 800 calories.
Tones and conditions
While Zumba isn’t a workout that’s going to build significant amounts of muscle, it works large muscle groups throughout the body and can help to tone and condition the body. The classes are also great for building core strength, as the core needs to work hard to balance and stabilise the body as it transitions Zumba exercises.
Improves cardiovascular fitness and endurance
While anyone who attends Zumba classes will tell you that it’s helped with their fitness, it’s not just anecdotal evidence. Many studies [2,3] have found Zumba has a significant impact on fitness levels.
Zumba classes work the full cardiovascular system, from breathing more rapidly to get more oxygen, to getting the heart beating faster to circulate this oxygen to the body. Exercising for heart health can help to prevent cardiovascular and circulatory diseases, as well as improve your overall fitness and endurance which makes doing daily activities easier.
Improves balance and coordination
Zumba moves involve moving the different body parts in different directions and motions, which can help to increase body awareness and improve your coordination and balance. While this will help to make you better at Zumba itself, it will also help in other areas of life – from fitness, to just being out and about.
Suitable for all levels
Dance classes can be intimidating, especially for those who don’t feel they have a natural ability to dance. Zumba’s choreography aims to be accessible for all abilities, and the workout nature of the class means even if you can’t quite get the grasp of the moves, you’re still having fun while getting fit. And as with most fitness classes, the more advanced you are, the more effort you can put in to ensure the workout is still challenging.
Makes fitness fun
One of the biggest factors in exercise adherence is how much you enjoy the exercise. While there’s no denying the benefits of exercises like weightlifting and running, not everyone enjoys these. Rather than force yourself to exercise in a way you don’t enjoy, it’s much better to find an exercise you love. And with Zumba’s motto, ‘Ditch the workout, join the party’, there’s no denying that the classes are a fun way to get moving.
Is Zumba good for losing weight?
Wondering whether Zumba can help you lose weight? While it’s not as straightforward as ‘doing Zumba will cause weight loss’, it can certainly help.
To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. There are two ways to do this: reduce your intake or increase your expenditure. Adding Zumba into your weekly routine means you are burning extra calories, which can help to create a calorie deficit.
If you were to make no changes to your diet and simply add in three 30 minute Zumba classes a week, you could be burning an extra 1,500 calories a week which over time would help to lose weight.
In fact, one study  found that doing three Zumba classes a week significantly decreased body fat and can be used as tool to change body composition. However, if you’re serious about weight loss, it’s best to combine diet (reducing calories) and exercise (increasing expenditure) rather than rely on exercise alone.
Who should do Zumba?
Almost anyone and everyone can get something out of a Zumba class, but it’s particularly great for people who love to dance and are looking for a fun way to keep fit while having fun. This could be someone who’s never set foot in a gym but are looking to start exercising, or it could be a regular gym goer who is trying to up their cardio but don't enjoy running or using cardio machines.
What to expect in your first Zumba class
Think Zumba sounds good, but feeling a little nervous for your first class? As long as you’re wearing comfortable trainers and workout clothes, there’s nothing to fear!
Zumba classes are high energy, but there’s no expectation for you to be good at the moves or keep to the beat. The instructor will run through the choreography and encourage everyone in the class to do what they can, when they can – so if you’re a step or two behind, that’s completely fine.
Our Zumba classes range from 30 – 60 minutes and have a mix of fast and slow songs (and exercises to match) – so there’s plenty of opportunities to catch your breath. If you find it too hard to begin with, take rests when you need to and make sure to drink water.
Ready to give Zumba a go? Find your nearest gym here and check out the gym class timetable to see when we run classes near you. You can also explore our other fitness classes here – we have classes for burning fat, improving endurance, building muscle, and increasing flexibility.