Zumba for your health!

Zumba is an exercise program that combines body sculpting movements with dance steps derived from merengue, salsa, hip hop, mambo and the rumba.

I interviewed Tamara Wrenn, a Zumba Fitness instructor practicing in the lower Hudson Valley, who told us more about this fun exercise.


What are some of the health benefits of participating in Zumba?

Zumba burns calories, improves cardiovascular health, normalizes blood pressure, increases core strength, helps with weight control (with proper nutrition), and improves psychological well-being. Medical studies also report that dancing reduces various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's.


Is Zumba safe for everyone, including pregnant women?

Before anyone begins a new exercise routine they should discuss it with their doctor. Pregnant women should get medical clearance before beginning, particularly if they were not exercising regularly before they conceived. There are three areas to consider; if they fall into the area of absolute contraindication for aerobic exercise during pregnancy (means absolutely not), relative contraindication for aerobic exercise during pregnancy (means maybe you can); and warning signs to stop exercising during a session while pregnant. Having said that anyone can do Zumba and like any aerobic exercise you can modify the routine, as well as decrease or increase intensity.


Any special clothes or shoes we should wear to a class?

Sneakers with good support are key. Not running shoes since they have too much tread and they are more likely to stick to the floor. Some people like dance shoes. Loose comfortable clothing that allows the sweat to dry off and doesn’t cling to the body. And women need a good quality sports bra that does not chafe.


What should we bring?

A small towel, bottle of water or non-caffeinated sports drink, good attitude and a smile. Make sure you fuel your body with a meal or a protein and carbohydrate snack at least one hour before class, as well as water.

Are there different types of Zumba classes?

Zumba does have different types of courses including Zumba Toning; Zumba Gold which targets the older active adult, true beginner and those requiring modifications due to physical abilities; Zumba Aqua (new) and Zumbatomics for kids.


Any tips for beginners?

Zumba is a great way to start making new lifestyle changes. It’s a non-threatening way to begin to reach your fitness goals. It should be complemented by other forms of exercise including yoga, weights, swimming, etc.


So, armed with all my new information I officially tried my first Zumba class! It was a great stress reliever, and I would love to go to another one. I’m not a Zumba fanatic yet, but I think I’m getting there, one class at a time. To find a class in your area visit  www.zumba.com.


Bridget Schultz lives in Orange County and will Zumba again even though she lacks rhythm.