Zumba will make you move 09/16/2010 The music starts. It’s a fast number.
One woman moves to the front of the dance floor and begins with a simple step-touch, step-touch. She swings her arms wide. Soon everyone in the room is following her lead.
This dance club atmosphere is actually a fitness class at Edward Health and Fitness Center.
Zumba (pronounced ZOOM-buh) is “Latin-based aerobics,” says instructor Tracy Gonzalez. But the beat thumping through the speakers at one of her classes is just as likely to be Latin as it is Lady Gaga.
The infomercials say Zumba classes in South Beach are so popular, they’re all but impossible to get into. They’re popular in Naperville and Woodridge, too – even through the usually slow summer months.
“I’ve got all different types of people in my class – younger people, older people, athletic people, heavier people,” says Gonzalez, who has taught Zumba since 2008. “Truly it is for anybody.”
Members need not be experienced in dance or aerobics to get into Zumba.
“It’s basically what you feel comfortable doing,” Gonzalez says. “One person may feel comfortable moving their hips, and one person might not. It’s not like it has to be aerobics, where we do exactly same moves, like now we’re going to do the grapevine and if you get out of step you’re behind.”
Interval training is built into the workout simply by mixing fast and slow songs. Gonzalez says Zumba works the cardiovascular system, burns fat, and tones and sculpts the body. Not that members think about that during a class.
“Zumba is about having a party,” she says. “The instructors usually don’t even talk throughout the class. It’s really just about the music and … letting the music guide you.”