Send Your Endorphins Soaring
Not your mother’s workout, Zumba is one of the fastest growing exercise trends in the world. “Ditch the workout and join the party,” is the slogan heard in gyms and health clubs everywhere by people trying to lose weight and stay fit.
Zumba comes from Colombia via Alberto Perez ( aka “Beto”). Beto was a gym and dance instructor who one day forgot to bring his tapes to an aerobics class. He grabbed his dance tapes instead and improvised, combining salsa, merengue and cumbia steps with calisthenics. His class loved it and begged for more.
Beto began designing choreography for each song, creating a fast- moving, cardio workout that was fun. He knew he had stumbled upon something big and made his way to the United States with virtually nothing but the clothes on his back and his new Zumba tapes. In the U. S., one of his students funded the merchandising of the Zumba label.
It’s estimated that now about 14 million students take weekly Zumba classes in more than 140,000 locations across more than 185 countries. Zumba Fitness was named by Inc. magazine as its “2012 Company of the Year.” The mixture of salsa, merengue, cumbia, chacha, reggaeton, hip- hop and Bollywood moves has engaged celebrities. Jennifer Lopez, Kirstie Alley, Jackie Chan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Natalie Portman, Emma Watson, Victoria Beckham, Halle Berry and Toni Braxton are all Zumba enthusiasts.
It’s also making waves in the music world with popular artists such as Wyclef Jean and Pitbull promoting their songs in Zumba classes and featuring them on the workout CDs.
When asked about why Zumba has exploded in popularity, Barbara Gennity, fitness contracts coordinator at the Sanibel Recreation Center, says, “It’s easy and fun. Great cardio and you don’t have to get down on the floor, which a lot of people like.”
Another reason people love it is that you can’t do it wrong. You can interpret the music your way and no Zumba instructor will ever stop you and say it has to be done a certain way. That takes the pressure off of beginners. Proponents
say that a one- hour class of Zumba burns anywhere from 500 to 1,000 calories. The Latin dance moves, in addition to great cardio, work the core, the legs, calves, hips and abs, and help with balance.
Evette Zurbriggen teaches Zumba at the Sanibel Health Club and the Sanibel Community Center. She says she chose Zumba as her workout of choice because “I don’t get bored and it keeps me from taking myself too seriously.”
Her Zumba classes add light weights ( 1- pound Zumba sticks that add a maracas sound) and more emphasis on calisthenics. She calls her program, “Toning Zumba”
Two of her regular class participants are Mike and Betty McDermott from Kansas City, Mo., who vacation on Sanibel during the winter. Mike says, “Zumba is like dancing at 10 o’clock in the morning. It is a social, physical, activity with contemporary, upbeat music. What’s not to like?”
Cookie Dalmau is a Zumba instructor at the Sanibel Recreation Center and several other locations. “I purchased one of the first Zumba videos available on TV and immediately loved it,’’ she says. “I come from a family of musicians and love music and dance, so Zumba is perfect for me. I love teaching something that is fun and so good for people.”
She taught her husband, Glenn, the steps so he could sub for her.
“It’s easy to pick up,” Glenn says. “I love rhythm and dance. As a choreographer you have to incorporate fitness moves into the dance elements.”
Their son, Jacob, 2, is also a Zumba enthusiast and begs to have the Zumba dance tapes on at home.
At the Sanibel Recreation Center, participants are so enthusiastic about
I HAVE DONE OTHER TYPES OF EXERCISE, PILATES FOR EXAMPLE, BUT WITH ZUMBA, YOU DON’T HAVE TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTOR PERFECTLY. YOU CAN DO YOUR OWN THING AND GET PLENTY OF AEROBIC EXERCISE. HOW FUN.” — SHANNON BENING
Zumba, they are asking to increase the number of classes.
“I love this,” says Toronto native Kristi Carroll. “It’s great exercise and so much fun. I don’t feel like I did any work.”
Sanibel’s Donna Leahy says, “I do aerobics for my heart and I love to dance, this gives me both. The music is great.”
Shannon Bening, Sanibel resident, adds, “I have done other types of exercise, Pilates for example, but with Zumba, you don’t have to follow the instructor perfectly. You can do your own thing and get plenty of aerobic exercise. How fun.”
Instructor Glenn Dalmau adds, “Zumba has crazy energy, great music and a firestorm of calorie burning. Having heard all this, how can you resist?”
Evette Zurbriggen is all pumped up for her Zumba class at the Sanibel Health Club.
Glenn, Cookie & Jacob Dalmau
Sanibel Recreation Center