Zumba was born in Colombia in the 1990s and was inspired by Latin dance styles. Zumba has pitched itself as more of a party than a workout. Indeed, some research suggests it may be the very best workout for people who hate to exercise. This dance class features high and low-intensity intervals that help improve cardiovascular fitness while also enhancing body balance stability, coordination, agility, and to some degree, strength through the application of beginner level choreography. Classes typically consist of a series of Latin-inspired songs, starting with a slower warm-up song, building intensity throughout the workout, and ending with a cool-down song. Latin music is light and makes you feel happy and good. Earlier it was inspired by Salsa, Merengue, Rumba and Reggaetón. Now there are Bollywood fusion mixes, Bhangra, for us to enjoy the fitness sessions more than ever.
Even if you’re not a strong dancer, the choreography is repetitive and designed to be built upon, so most people will catch on to the moves as they go. Zumba tends to attract a largely female crowd while all are welcome. But it seems to be an opposite case scenario for trainers. There are a fair number of male trainers in the field.
The workout in disguise has unique physical and mental health benefits. Some benefits include concentration on hips and abdominal region, a complete body workout and includes a warm-up, a workout for different muscle groups, and it’s safe for any age. It improves body coordination and lifts the mood.
Zumba is not only popular among young adults but is also famous among the older generations who succumb to it. A study linked Zumba’s hip-swinging, stomach-twirling movements to an increased core and trunk strength and better balance in older overweight women. More broadly, plenty of evidence suggests that dancing can help seniors maintain balance and coordination, lowering their risk for falls.
A related study on Zumba’s psychological benefits found that people who practise it feel more independent and said that their lives seemed more purposeful. Small but positive benefits were noted for reducing body weight and other body measurements. Furthermore, other effects included social benefits on the quality of life. One of the most amazing facts about Zumba is that we can burn calories without feeling that we worked out. It gives you the time and space to implement steps and move with the music. If you aren’t interested in running, jogging or exercising, you should definitely try Zumba. A lot of times you have to push yourself to exercise because it’s boring. But with Zumba, it’s different; it keeps you hooked. Zumba is like an electrifying shot full of refreshment and joy.
Here are snippets from our interview with Mr Shiva Kumar, a professional Zumba trainer –
Since when have you been teaching Zumba, and who inspired you to become a Zumba trainer?
It has been 5 years since I have been in this profession. Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez, the creator of Zumba, inspired me.
How do you think Zumba has changed your life?
It keeps me happy and creative.
Is Zumba more of a dance form or a fitness routine?
It is more of a dance form.
Do you think that people should learn Zumba and practice it regularly?
Yes, to create new choreographies.
Can anyone learn Zumba? Any tips for beginners?
Yes. Also, enjoy doing Zumba without worrying about knowing how to dance.
Are they programs aimed at various age groups? Are there any levels?
Yes, there are different levels to master the form and get certified.
There are a few celebrities whom you have trained. So do you think Zumba helps them learn different dance forms and improve flexibility?
Yes, it does help them.
How many calories can an individual burn in a session of one hour?
Depends on the individual. Approximately 500-1200 calories.
Studies show that Zumba can help in boosting one’s self-confidence. Is it true, then how?
Yes, any dance form can boost confidence by relieving stress.
How is it beneficial to women?
Zumba increases stamina, improves strength and makes women active.
How has your journey as a Zumba trainer been?
As a dancer, Zumba became easier for me to learn. I worked as a freelancer initially and took classes in various studios and classes. I created my own network of students who are like family now.
Lastly, what problems did you face during the lockdown? How did you manage your expenditures when the dance classes and gyms weren’t permitted?
Initially, for 2 months, it was closed. I managed everything through my savings. Later in the 3rd month, my savings ended, and the conditions didn’t seem to be in our favour. I didn’t have any hope that it would open for a year also. The owner didn’t agree to reduce the rent. So I decided in vacating the place; the owner withdrew 3 months rent and paid the advance back. So after that, I started looking for a new place and found one in August. The funds from the advance were over by November, and I had to take a loan to start anew. The student count has reduced from 20 per class to 7 or 8 per class.