Research interest in both salsa dance and Zumba fitness has increased in recent years, likely a result of the gaining popularity of these types of classes among the mainstream dance and fitness audiences. However, no investigations have yet explored the simultaneous physiological and psychological responses to attendance in community-based classes of salsa dance and Zumba fitness using validated dance- and exercise-specific instruments.
PURPOSE: To simultaneously assess the physiological responses and subjective psychological experiences during participation in instructor-led group classes of Latin dance in a community sample of physically inactive women.
METHODS: Twenty-four participants, aged 22 to 56 yr, visited the laboratory on a single occasion to perform a graded exercise test. The participants then attended two partner-based salsa dance and two non-partner-based Zumba fitness classes each in a counterbalanced order over a 2 wk period. The classes were taught by qualified teachers in established venues in Kingston upon Thames and the surrounding communities of London, UK. Each class was 1 h in length, and a recovery period of at least 48 h was taken between classes. Physiological data were collected using a wrist-worn Actigraph wGT3X+ accelerometer with accompanying heart rate monitor and were processed using previously validated dance-specific techniques (Domene & Easton, 2013). Psychological experiences were measured via the Subjective Exercise Experiences Scale (McAuley & Courneya, 1994).
RESULTS: There was a significantly higher (P < 0.001) total time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (51.2 ± 3.1 versus 32.6 ± 5.9 min), total energy expenditure (411 ± 66 versus 210 ± 46 kcal), and total step count (6773 ± 556 versus 4108 ± 781 step) during Zumba fitness when compared to salsa dance. Significant pre- to post-class improvements in positive well-being (P < 0.01, partial η2 = 0.41), psychological distress (P < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.72), and a reduction in fatigue (P < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.52) were simultaneously observed.
CONCLUSION: The acute responses to classes of salsa dance and Zumba fitness suggest that in physically inactive women participation is indeed efficacious in terms of community-based physical activity and psychosocial health promotion.