Our guide to Zumba

Our guide to Zumba

First published date April 02 2014 Amended date December 21 2015

Zumba, along with yoga and Pilates has burst onto the fitness and keeping active scene of late with more and more classes and centres specialised in it popping up all over the UK. Zumba is both an excellent way to perfect your dance moves and keep in shape as well socialise and meet new people. Zumba courses aren’t exclusive and welcome all people no matter about age or gender and classes are readily available, perhaps in your local gym or fitness centre. It’s all about having a good time while you get fit.


What is Zumba?

Zumba is basically a Latin-inspired dance fitness program which incorporates dance and aerobics as well as a variety of music genres and exercises ranging from hip hop to salsa and martial arts to squats. Zumba was only founded as recently as 2001 by Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez, a Columbian dancer and choreographer who took his idea to Florida where it has since become a global phenomenon with multiple celebrities  catching on to the trend as well as Zumba DVDs and video games on the shop shelves too. The official Zumba website boasts that around 14 million people across 185 countries in 140,000 locations are taking part in Zumba, so you are bound to find a Zumba course close by!


I’m not really much of a dancer...

Ok, just because the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are into it, it doesn’t mean you have to be an amazing dancer to take part in a Zumba class. As much as it integrates dance and choreography, that is by no means the sole focus, as it is more fitness based. Zumba isn’t for seasoned professional dancers, it’s mainly for the everyday person who is just looking to have fun and keep active! As long you’re enthusiastic and willing to put in the effort then you’ll love it!


Is it for me?

So we’ve established that you don’t have to be a confident dancer to take part in Zumba, but why else should you give this new craze a whirl? Zumba is a great for a number of reasons for all kinds of people. For the younger crowd, it is a fantastic way to get in shape if you’re prepping for the summer holidays and for the elderly, there are courses specifically for you which is great for your health and fitness. You can go with friends and workout together or go it alone and meet new people there while you train.


What will a Zumba class involve?

There are varying levels and types of Zumba classes you can join up with ranging from beginner classes to ones for people with learning disabilities; it really is an all encompassing activity. There is a specific class designed for the older generation of Zumba enthusiasts also, called Zumba Gold. You can usually book courses as you go so you don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment if you find that it isn’t up your street after your first one or two sessions. Classes will be at a very energetic high-tempo and normally last for no longer than an hour so while it isn’t as brutal as other workouts or fitness regimes, it certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted. Beginner classes won’t be as fast paced to begin with but the tempo will rise as you progress and improve.

While the high-tempo is important for the fitness side of Zumba, there is also the choreography element as well. You will be moving to the rhythms of infectious Latin beats like samba, salsa, tango and reggaeton as well as many others too. You won’t need to be pulling off moonwalks however as the choreography is kept fairly simple so to focus on fitness and movement rather than dancing. However, your rhythm and timing is something you will find will improve after just a few classes under your belt.


From an instructor’s point of view

Hotcourses’ own HR and office manager for our London office, Pamela Lai,is also a fully fledged Zumba instructor on top of her busy working schedule. Pamela has been teaching Zumba classes since 2010, she began taking classes while studying and decided six months in that she would step up from student to teacher and hasn’t looked back. She teaches in the evenings after working here across South West London to classes with as many as 20 people. She says, ‘I love teaching Zumba because every session feels like a party! Anyone can join, it’s easy and addictive and I guarantee you’ll leave with a smile.’