I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with Zumba and similar dance classes. The dates vary, but the experience is always the same: Music blaring, energy running high, everyone hyped up and moving in beautiful unison and then as the class goes left, I go right. I bump into someone. They try not to look annoyed. I can’t get back in the rhythm. The pattern is broken. It’s awkward. So ja, Zumba and I are not friends. But I have chronic FOMOW (fear of missing out on workouts) so when the WH crew recently had a team Zumba class for someone’s birthday, I steeled myself and went along. I didn’t expect to enjoy it but, y’know, team vibes. Well, I ate humble protein bars that day. Turns out, Zumba is a great workout! Here’s what I discovered…
1/ You don’t need to do all the moves perfectly.
I realise now that my past experiences of not keeping up in Zumba classes were down to me trying too hard. Thing is, my spine just doesn’t move in that snaky way. And when the moves start getting more complex, I can’t keep up. And the more wooden and confused I would feel, the more flustered I became. This time round, I took a #doyou approach. I found a spot close to the front where I could actually see the instructor, but on the side so there’d be no casualties when I inevitably went the wrong way. I didn’t try to be all serpentine and cool. And when the moves got too complex for me to follow, I stuck with the simple version (thank you, yoga, for teaching me that not every progression is available to everyone!). Feeling so much more relaxed, I could actually just let loose and enjoy it.
2/ The calorie burn is proper!
Confession: I haven’t just avoided Zumba all these years because I had no rhythm. I was also more than a little judgerag. I mean, how much of a workout can prancing around a studio really be, amIright? A helluva workout, actually. I burnt 311 calories in 40 minutes. Not bad for prancing around a studio, hey?
3/ Your muscles will feel it, too.
Zumba moves are dancey, yes, but they incorporate a lot of squatting and hopping around up on your toes. You probably wouldn’t notice it at the time, but you’re giving the muscles in your legs a good workout! There’s also a lot of twisting and crunching, which hits your abs from multiple angles in the way sit-ups and crunches just don’t. The next day my legs and abs were complaining like I’d done a proper workout. Because I had.
WATCH: This isn’t us… but it is our awesome instructor Olètha Angelique in action.
4/ Zumba is low impact.
So you’re getting a solid lower-body and core workout and a major calorie burn. But Zumba is still a pretty low-impact workout. There aren’t high jumps or burpees or lots of lunges that might hurt your joints. Plus, you can easily dial back certain moves to suit your own body like, say, not squatting quite so low. So if you’re carrying a bit of extra weight or you struggle with joint pain, the class is still completely accessible to you without you having to put up your hand and ask for regressions every five minutes.
5/ You’ll have fun whether you want to or not.
Let’s be honest, even if you hate dancing, you love dancing. Most people who claim to hate dancing actually hate feeling out of place and awkward on a dance floor. And understandably so. But the music is so great, you can’t help but move, no matter how too-cool-for-school you’re trying to be. And once you get into it and realise that you can move for the fun of it without anyone judging you, even if you’re really, really bad, you can’t help but love it.
Try A Zumba Class With The WH Team
We loved our Zumba class so much, we’re bringing our teacher, Olètha Angelique, to Chase The Sun Stellenbosch on 7 March! And you can join in the fun. Not only will you do Zumba, you can also try Afropunk yoga and do a toning session targeting your tummy, bum and legs. And it all goes down in the beautiful outdoors at sunrise. Plus, we’ll even throw in a workout vest! Tickets are only R150 and selling fast. Book yours now!