Send Your En­dor­phins Soar­ing

RSWLiving - - Departments - BY DIANE YORK

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


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.

Evette Zur­briggen

Glenn, Cookie & Ja­cob Dal­mau

Sani­bel Re­cre­ation Cen­ter

Shannon Ben­ing

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