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Planning Retirement Online

Out of the box.  Zumba

                                     June 2010

This is our regular OUT OF THE BOX feature where we give suggestions on different things to try.      

If you have tried something unusual or different, tell us all about it - and send in a photograph as well if you can – so that we can share your experiences with others.



This month we look at …… Zumba

ZumbaDon’t worry if you haven’t heard of zumba, while it is growing across the world like wildfire it is all still fairly new.

What is zumba? – basically it is a fitness dance routine done to terrific music. That doesn’t sound very new but zumba is totally different because it is based on really exhilarating Latin music from South America.

Zumba started in Colombia when a fitness teacher forgot the planned music for his aerobics class. He had some traditional Latin salsa and merengue music in his car, so he took that and put it on – and zumba was formed, an aerobic dance routine to a dramatic Latin beat.

Zumba has now moved on a long way forward from that beginning in South America. Today it involves scientifically developed routines and steps to ensure participants not only have a terrific time, but also undertake a wide variety of aerobic movements to ensure a full body workout. There is usually a good mix of fast and slow rhythms to ensure you burn fat, get fit and exercise a wide range of muscles.

Without doubt it is the music that makes Zumba different, the exhilaration experienced in a class is very different from that experienced at any normal fitness workout. There is an integral attitude that the idea of zumba is not only to have a cardio-workout but also to have a party, to have fun. Classes are usually an hour long and feature four main rhythms based on simplified versions of salsa, merengue, cumbia and reggaeton music. If that doesn’t mean much to you, don’t worry, it is just lovely rhythmic music that calls out ..come and have a dance!

The concept has raced through America like wildfire and of course now it has hit the world. At the moment, zumba is being taught at over 60,000 locations in 105 countries, and one report says over 7 million people are taking zumba classes every week.

For older people who love the idea but are not quite fit or confident enough to really enjoy the continuing energetic beat, there is now Zumba Gold, classed aimed specifically at older people – there is even a zumba routine that you can do sitting in a chair. You can also buy zumba DVD’s and undertake the routines in your own home.

There are a lot of classes across the UK ( visit and go to find a class. Then click looking for classes outside the US and you can find your way through to a long list of classes right across the UK).

While classes are being held at a wide range of locations, currently there are big gaps in coverage. However, training classes are being run which are constantly full of fitness instructors wanting to add zumba to their repertoire, so it shouldn’t be long before the whole country is covered.

Zumba really is being taken up by all age groups and if you want to get fit but have a bit of fun as well, it might just be the thing for you.

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