Zumba: A party in a work-out

Readers, where would you expect to be if you were:

a. Shaking your hips uncontrollably, attempting to mimic a spicy Latin salsa sequence?

b. Flailing your arms pathetically, trying to keep up to energizing hip-hop beats?

c. Feeling beads of sweat drip down your face while, dancing like no one else was watching?

Maybe you'd expect to be in the middle of a horrible nightmare. Or dancing to music videos on TV in the privacy of your living room.  I got this groove on at Zumba!

Zumba?! You ask. Sounds like a hot new night club, right?

No, readers, Zumba is a drop-in fitness class at the AC that I stumbled upon a few days ago...

Image courtesy of Simon Schoeters
Image courtesy of Cimm

Earlier this week, I was feeling incredibly stressed. I had just crammed to finish a paper and was craving a good workout. I had planned to sweat out my tension on the elliptical machine, but when I got to the Field House, I noticed a cluster of about fifteen women waiting for something to start.  The nearby white board said Zumba was on deck. I'd never heard of Zumba, so I asked an eagerly-awaiting participant if she had ever taken it before.

Yes. Its a dancy fitness class. It is soooooo fun and a good workout.”

After sizing up the others in the class: a non-intimidating mix of friendly-looking staff and students, I took my position at the back of the line. I knew that I could potentially embarrass myself, but in September, I had committed to  trying new activities to get fit and spice up my life outside the classroom. Zumba seemed like the perfect opportunity to do just that.

As soon as the music started, the instructor enthusiastically led us through a sequence of high-energy hip- hop and Latin dance moves. Bounce, step left. Bounce, step right. Shimmy, shimmy, shimmy. Dance, dance, dance. Bounce, step left. Bounce, step right. Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. Although she shook her hips and grooved to the music like a pro, she was not judgmental of newbies, like me, who were clearly struggling to get the moves.

At first, I was a little self-conscious of all the shimmying and shaking, especially because I knew that my hips were not moving in the direction they were supposed to be. But when I took a quick glance at my classmates, I realized that no one was dancing with Beyoncé -like perfection. Rather, they were all flailing about, completely off-tempo and misstepping like me. But no one seemed to care. I could hear the odd giggle after a poorly executed hip thrust and could see smiles on all the faces around me and it was obvious that everyone was dancing with a sense of humor. I decided if they can let loose and get their groove on, then I could do the same!

So, I bounced, stepped, and shimmied, not caring what I looked like. It was liberating to let my body move as it pleased (apparently my body moves like a completely uncoordinated, freestyle jitterbug). The best part of the Zumba class was that I completely forgot that I was working out. It was only when the instructor stopped the music that I realized I was huffing and puffing.

I would definitely recommend Zumba to anyone looking for a fun work-out or to those of you needing a break from an overload of midterms and assignments.  Don't worry, you don't have to be a good dancer, all you need is a willingness to let loose and get your groove on!

Tae Kwon Do Update: Due to the stress of assignments I made the horrible mistake of skipping Tae Kwon Do last week...kicking something probably would have made me feel better!


5 comments on “Zumba: A party in a work-out

  1. Great blog Shannon! I have been meaning to try Zumba for a while now and am pretty uncoordinated so have shied away from it but you make it sound like it is a very non-intimidating environment.

  2. Hi Julie,

    You should definitely give Zumba a try!Maybe you could convince a friend to go with you to make the first class a little less nerve-wracking. It is not intimidating at all once you get into it.

    Believe me, I am not very coordinated when it comes to dancing, and I fit in just fine!

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