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Do you love music with a good beat? Did you grow up with ball room dancing? And do you prefer the social side of exercising with a group of friends? Then you’ll love Zumba, though it has been a regular class in the NZ itness scene for a wee while now love for the classes is still strong. We caught up with licensed instructor, Yvette Gregory, to get the low down on this fitness option perfect for healthy aging.
Zest for Zumba
Yvette speaks passionately about this modified, lower impact version of the popular Latin-inspired, dance-fitness craze. A professional ball room dancer in her youth, she then was swept up in aerobics in the 90’s but is now hooked on Zumba for life. She’s been an instructor for over three years and believes it’s a perfect choice for active, older people as well those just getting started with exercise or nursing an injury.
Yvette has taught people aged 10-81 years of age and was able to keep teaching right through her last pregnancy. As the moves and pace can be modified, Zumba is perfect for everyone and there are multiple health benefits including mental, physical and social,” she said.
In Her Experience Zumba Participants:
- Move more freely over time and feel more supple
- Experience reduced muscle aches and soreness
- Improve muscle strength, tone, plus balance and co-ordination
- Work up a sweat and complete a heart-healthy cardio session
- Are more likely to achieve a healthy weight
- Exercise their brain, memory and thinking skills, important for preventing cognitive decline
- Have a renewed zest for life, from the vibrant music and friendly class community
Get to Class
A typical 45 minute Zumba class is made up of a very important 15 minute warm up to help loosen up your muscles and joints, especially those hips! Typically this is performed to a popular track that most people know like YMCA, so that the brain doesn’t have to think too hard on intricate steps, just yet.
Yvette will then take the class through different dance routines to zesty Latin music, like salsa, merengue, rumba, tango and even belly dancing. Everyone works out at their own pace and Yvette provides guidance on tailoring moves to different intensity and ability levels. “I always try towards the end of class, right before the cool down, to push participants to do more complicated choreography as I appreciate that healthy aging is about keeping both the brain and body active. Plus we often end up in fits of laughter which is good for the soul,” she said.
Dance to the Music?
So if you’re looking for camaraderie and a dose of fun with your fitness, then Zumba could be the perfect fit. If you’d like to give Zumba a try, check in with your health professional first, and then make sure you find a class by a licensed instructor. You can search by locality and class type at www.zumba.com.
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By Emma Stirling APD