FIT-STEPPING: Alberto Perez, centre, founder of Zumba Fitness, performs on stage during a meeting in Rimini, central Italy. Picture: REUTERS
FIT-STEPPING: Alberto Perez, centre, founder of Zumba Fitness, performs on stage during a meeting in Rimini, central Italy. Picture: REUTERS
HEALTHY: A group of fitness-lovers sweat it out at a Zumba class. Picture: Zumba
HEALTHY: A group of fitness-lovers sweat it out at a Zumba class. Picture: Zumba
COMPLETE: Zumba provides a workout for the whole body. Picture: INLSA
COMPLETE: Zumba provides a workout for the whole body. Picture: INLSA
It’s a fitness wave that’s taken on a life of its own - and chances are, if you aren’t living under a rock, you’ve heard of it.

Zumba - dubbed by many as a fun “dance fitness party”.

When it first originated in Colombia in the 1990s, the founder of the dance exercise programme pitched it as a home training session in DVD format for those outside the country.

A few years later the Latin-based aerobic workout has become a worldwide phenomenon, gaining popularity as one of the favourite exercise regimes on our home soil as well.

Its popularity can arguably be credited to it being offered as a group workout class in gyms across South Africa.

Various gyms provide classes on a daily or weekly schedule to people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and ages, who would rather dance their hearts out than run on a treadmill or cycle for an hour.

Sonwabo Bomvana, a licensed Zumba instructor, explains that Zumba is an instructor-led workout with simple dance moves that consist of a combination hip-hop, salsa, Latin, contemporary and reggaeton styles.

He says the most impressive part of Zumba is how much it appeals to people who would have traditionally abstained from exercising, moreover at a conventional gym.

The health benefits of this dance class are well established.

This as a study in the American Journal of Health Behaviour revealed that when women with Type 2 diabetes and obesity did Zumba three times a week for 16 weeks, they lost an average of 1.4 kg and lowered their percentage of body fat by 1%.

“More important, the women enjoyed the class so much that they made it a habit - very unusual for an aerobic exercise programme.”

Bomvana says a full workout session usually ranges from an hour to 90 minutes depending on the group’s exercise requirements.

“An hour of Zumba can burn about 100 calories in a session. An hour might seem like a long time to exercise, but it’s not when you consider how much fun you’ll have during those 60 minutes. Like the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun,” Bomvana says. “To

add more interest and fun to the class, we request a few songs from people and add a Zumba routine to it.”

When people hear their favourite songs they are even more motivated to sweat the unwanted fat.”

However, Bomvana cautions that one may not see instant results - but over time the results will become evident and rewarding.