During physical activity coaching sessions with clients, a question I’ll ask is “What activity do you enjoy doing?” Zumba® Fitness is a popular response. I can see that they do enjoy the program because their faces light up with enthusiasm as they talk about how much fun they have. They try to convince me that it’s a good choice, with comments like “it really gets my heart pumping, so it must be good exercise!”
Scientific journal publications that provide valid findings on the Zumba Fitness program were unavailable at the time of this writing. However, an unpublished well-controlled study conducted by Nutrition and Exercise Consulting, Simply fit® (1), measured the energy cost of trained proficient Zumba instructors. The group consisted of 21 healthy men and women (12 women and 9 men), average age 32 years, with an average body mass index of 24.9 lb/in.2 (normal range). A total of 12 participants completed a 60-minute Zumba Fitness Exhilarate workout, and 9 participants participated in the Zumba Fitness Ripped workout, which uses equipment. Results revealed that both workouts can be described as moderate to high intensity and reported heart rate reserve (HRR) percent mean value of 79% HRR (range, 65.6% to 92.5% HRR). These values fall within ACSM guidelines for cardiovascular training in healthy individuals. Investigators further reported that during exercise, participants expended an average of 637 kcal/hour (range, 480 to 776 kcal/hour). These values are quite high, and further investigation is needed, as well as studies involving a variety of participants including entry level, special populations, and older people.
I wanted to learn more about the program and asked my long-time colleague Joy Prouty, training director for Zumba Fitness, LLC, to provide a peek into the new program Zumba Gold (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6406461/GOLD_DEMO_REV06.mp4). This is tailored to the needs of older adults and may be a better choice for my clients with special needs. In Joy’s words, we’ll explore the Zumba Fitness fun and learn a few new steps.
WHAT IS ZUMBA FITNESS?
Zumba Fitness is a global lifestyle brand that fuses fitness, entertainment, and culture into a dance party experience — “the dance party lifestyle.” The company is most known for the Zumba program, which combines Latin and International rhythms with dance and fitness moves to create an exciting and effective fitness system. It integrates the basic components of fitness: cardiorespiratory, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and balance into an easy-to-follow, exciting, and dynamic dance-based workout.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S SUCH A HIT?
Zumba® classes are such a hit because they feel like a fitness-party. Classes are fun, but they also are safe and effective! The explosive energy of the music and moves bring people back again and again. Even though they are exercising, they don’t feel like they are working. It’s exercise in disguise!
HOW DOES ZUMBA FITNESS FIT INTO AN EXERCISE PROGRAM FOR HEALTH ACROSS THE AGES?
Zumba Fitness has now developed instructor training programs for all ages. The Zumbatomic® program is designed to train instructors to teach kids from 4 to 12 years old. The Basic Steps program is the foundation program of Zumba Fitness and is designed for the general population, and the Zumba Gold program is designed for the older active adult and beginner or deconditioned participant. All Zumba Fitness programs follow the guidelines established by ACSM for heath and fitness for apparently healthy individuals, as well as for the older adult.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ZUMBA BASIC CLASSES AND ZUMBA GOLD?
In all of our Zumba instructor trainings and classes, we talk about form, safety, progression, and, of course, modifications. We talk about the importance of people pacing themselves and performing the moves and patterns that are controlled while keeping the fun element alive!
In Zumba Gold classes, we pay additional attention to transitional moves and holding patterns, to building moves and patterns more slowly, and, of course, to movement selection appropriate for the older adult.
Examples of this include, but aren’t limited to, moves that include having the legs cross the midline of the body (should be avoided by people with a recent hip replacement), pivots, quick directional changes, and moves that extend beyond a comfortable range of motion.
HOW DO TRAINERS GET INVOLVED?
It’s easy to get involved teaching Zumba classes. Instructor trainings are conducted globally, and they are posted on the Zumba Web site: www.zumba.com. Just click on instructor training, and you will be able to find trainings in your location. The trainings vary in time from 8 to 10 hours, depending on the specific course. After attending an instructor training, the participant will receive a certificate to teach Zumba classes for a period of 1 year. There is no time limit if they join the Zumba Instructor Network™ (ZIN), which is our continuing education program that comes with many benefits and perks.
ARE THERE ANY RESOURCES FOR WORKOUTS AND MUSIC?
When a participant attends one of the Zumba instructor trainings, they receive a review DVD of the material taught, which includes choreography and exercises, as well as an initial CD of original Zumba music. Those who join ZIN will receive a new DVD and CD of original music every other month that is designed to assist the instructor in preparing and teaching classes. During the off month, they are provided with a CD of additional music.
The ZIN also provides additional educational, music, and choreography resources, as well as help in marketing and promotion. All instructors can log into the network online, communicate with each other on our global forum, and receive monthly newsletters with updates from Zumba Fitness. We also hold ZIN days in various countries all over the world as a means to help build community and continue the learning process. ZIN days are free, continuing education courses for ZIN members.
LET’S HAVE A TASTE OF ZUMBA GOLD! CAN YOU SHARE SOME HOT MOVES THAT HEALTH AND FITNESS INSTRUCTORS CAN ADD TO THEIR PROGRAMS?
Find your healthy rhythm: For all the moves, it’s OK for participants to go at their own pace, having fun at any beat, whether it be one-half time, three-fourths time, or their own internal beat.
Stay focused: Keep your head up and eyes focused on the instructor, mirror, or horizon (straight forward) to help maintain balance.
Most importantly: Smile and keep your feet moving. March in place, clap your hands, and take your time to stabilize any time during the dance.
Step forward with same arm as leg forward. Imagine cutting a sugar cane. Then bring the foot to center to stabilize and begin to open the arm out. Bring the foot back slightly and complete the “cutting action.” Feel the rhythm.
Modification cues: Take smaller steps. Return to center and take a moment to stabilize and balance. March in place at center if you need more time to balance.
Step out to the side with one foot, keeping the other in place. Then bring the foot back into center and clap as you transition to the other side. Be sure to stabilize, checking balance, before moving to the other side.
Modification cues: Return to center and check balance as you change sides. Keep arms closer and no higher than heart level (chest height) to reduce the intensity.
Move one foot forward as you shift your weight forward. Keep the step within a comfortable range of motion (not too big). Now, step back, shifting your weight through the hips. Accent is on moving back. Move the hips and relax.
Modification cues: Make the movements smaller. Take your time and balance in the center between steps. Keep the hips relaxed and moving freely!
The tango provides great training for dynamic balance as participants move in fluid control as they shift their weights. Step forward and bring the other leg in close to in a Tango pose. This step requires balancing with a narrow base of support. Then step back, bringing the other foot into the ankle. Keep your core muscles engaged for support and to help stability and balance.
Modification cues: Widen the base of support by placing the feet shoulder width apart as needed during the movement. Hold in place and check balance. Touch the foot down near the ankle, if needed, for extra support.
© 2012 American College of Sports Medicine.
1. Sternlicht E, Frisch F, Sumida K. Beta-endorphin, heart rate and caloric expenditure analysis of the Zumba®
Fitness program. Nutrition and Exercise Consulting, Simply fit®