We are always looking for new ways to make our workouts more enjoyable, and break away from the usual exercise routines. Although there are countless options, Zumba, a relatively new fitness craze, is taking over gyms all over America.
Zumba is a combination of dance, elements of martial arts and physical exercise, not unlike aerobics. Fourteen million acolytes in 150 countries sing its praises: it improves posture and increases flexibility, agility and coordination. An hour of Zumba could be the only antidepressant you’ll ever need. Not only do you burn calories, but it makes you feel like you’ve discovered a hidden talent: dancing with ease to the rhythm of Latin music: salsa, mambo, cha-cha, merengue, cumbia, bhangra, and a little reggaeton.
Photo: Val Thoermer / 123RF Stock Photo.
Alberto Pérez, a dancer/trainer from Cali, Colombia accidentally invented Zumba in the late 1990s. One day, he forgot the music for his aerobics class and played some salsa and merengue instead. That was the first Zumba class ever taught. He couldn’t have imagined the kind of success that would follow him.
Depending on the age and physical aptitude of the students, there are eight different levels: Gold, Toning, Aqua Zumba, Zumbatomic, Gold-Tonic, and Sentao. You can burn between 500 and 1000 calories per hour/session. Jennifer Lopez, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Emma Watson, Victoria Beckham, and Halle Berry are among the celebrities who, at some time, have followed this trend.
But we should also mention the phenomenal marketing strategy behind Zumba, which moves millions of dollars every year. Headquartered in a luxury shopping mall in Florida, Zumba Fitness, LLC., has more than 250 employees. The company’s aggressive business model yielded a growth rate of more than 750% for the last three years. With a presence in more than 70,000 locales in the U.S. (95 percent in gyms), the company is expected to continue growing in the coming years.
Zumba Fitness has an exclusive line of clothing, videos and DVDs. This phenomenon can also be felt in the music business: artists like Wyclef Jean or Pitbull have adapted some of their songs to be played in Zumba classes. ■