The worldwide program celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2011, although it took a while to get to the Cleveland and Bradley County community.
The Family YMCA began the dance-inspired fitness program three years ago with a regular Zumba class and has since expanded to four additional concepts. In addition to regular Zumba, there is a Gold Zumba program for beginners of all ages and seniors, and a ZumbAtomic program for children 7 to 12.
Recently the YMCA added a Toning Zumba program, featuring special Zumba moves with weights to tone the body, and an Aqua Zumba program to utilize the resistance of water in the pool.
Participation has continued to increase in the YMCA programs, although Aqua Zumba and Toning Zumba classes are still relatively small because the programs are new. Participation in the regular Zumba program might reach as many as 75 people. With continued growth and expansion, the Y now has eight instructors for its Zumba programs.
YMCA spokeswoman Rosemary Dworak said the Zumba programs now rival Pilates, spinning and other fitness endeavors at the local facilities.
Zumba was created by dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez in Colombia during the 1990s. Perez forgot his aerobics music for a class he was teaching, but grabbed some tapes of traditional Latin salsa and Merengue music from his car.
He used this music with improvised dance movements ... and Zumba was born.
Perez moved to the United States in 2001 and brought his Zumba creation with him. The fitness concept, mostly on the West coast when it started in the U.S., was licensed by Fitness Quest and continues to be a craze across the nation.
Zumba includes exercise with fast and slow musical rhythms, as well as resistance training which you can get in the new Aqua Zumba at the YMCA.
Zumba music comes from a number of dance styles, including cumbi, salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, chachacha, reggaeton, soca, sambo, belly dancing, bhangra, hip-hop and the tango.
There are now several different concepts of Zumba, with the Cleveland Family YMCA offering five.
Zumba is popular with different age levels and emphasizes a “party” atmosphere with the level of exertion being controlled by each individual. Movement to the Latin music is also an individual reaction, which often includes squats and lunges.
Although Zumba is a fun, laid-back environment for exercise and working out, there are still risks. A doctor’s release is recommended for any woman who is pregnant, or for anyone with cardiovascular, pulmonary or metabolic conditions.
People with knee, hip or ankle problems should discuss those considerations with their instructor.
Regular Zumba classes can be fast-paced, frenzied and quite strenuous, especially if you get caught up in the moment and don’t limit yourself. Participants rarely leave a workout without being drenched in sweat and out of breath.
You should also set your (individual) pace. Most Zumba classes get off to a fast start after a warm-up period. Most classes usually continue for 50 minutes.
The dance-inspired exercises feature a lot of pivoting, as well as side-to-side and fast rotating hip movements to get accustomed to the activity. A slower start can be beneficial until you get used to the exercises and movements. Gold Zumba may be the answer for those unfamiliar with Zumba.
YMCA anticipates the two new Zumba programs (Aqua and Toning) will quickly expand. The Aqua class, under YMCA aquatic director Andrea Martinez, uses a pool’s resistance to assist.
Zumba Toning is expected to be increasingly popular, since it is somewhat more strenuous. This class combines body sculpting techniques with Zumba moves in a one-hour, calorie-burning, strength-training event.
Group fitness director Princess Snyder maintains Zumba is “An exercise in disguise!”
The Toning class uses weighted, maraca-like Zumba toning sticks to enhance rhythm, build strength and tone all of the body’s target levels. It also includes a warmup and stretch at the end of the class.
Toning classes are scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday, beginning at 8:15 a.m. The class fee is $25 for members and $65 for all others. All nonmembers must pay a $5 annual program fee.
Aqua Zumba classes are scheduled Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a $25 fee for members and $40 for nonmembers.
It is estimated there are 12 million people involved in Zumba classes at 110,000 locations nationwide.
One of the biggest attractions of the workout is that it’s considered a “dance party,” rather than a tiring exercise routine.
In the Zumba workout, muscle spasms and calf injuries can happen. The program’s philosophy is all about fun, but it is not that much fun if you suffer an injury. So, starting at the appropriate level (for you) is important. Another word of caution is to get a pair of comfortable shoes. Zumba doesn’t require fancy equipment, and thin-soled sneakers or workout shoes are recommended.
Running shoes, which normally have thick treads, are normally designed for forward movement and are inappropriate. These treads limit side-to-side and pivotal movement.
Instructors are trained and licensed to teach regular Zumba in a one-day course, but additional training is required for specialized courses. Instructors are often certified in other fitness areas.
Instructors can help determine the condition of individual participants, finding out who are beginners and if there are any health concerns.
All of the classes at the Cleveland YMCA are co-ed. For more information about Zumba classes at the Y, call 476-5573.