Zumba, the Latin-inspired dance-fitness class claiming millions of followers around the world, started classes for seniors in 2010. Zumba Gold teaches participants modified versions of the original Zumba dance steps while paying attention to the special needs that seniors bring to fitness. Zumba chair exercises, a specialty of Zumba Gold, are offered to those with physical or psychological limitations. Chair classes last 20 to 30 minutes to ensure that participants get a workout without overdoing it.
Warm up. Zumba Gold chair workouts begin by transitioning the body into the routine through warm-up moves. These include shoulder rolls, wrist circles, finger extensions, arm lifts, knee lifts, toe taps, heel lifts, spinal rotation and clapping. Instructors will describe how these moves can assist with the activities of daily living; for example, the overhead stretching motion can help a senior when he needs to scratch his back.
Move to merengue music, the fast-paced style of the Dominican Republic. Start with a march, alternately tapping the feet to the music. Transition to toe lifts, keeping heels planted. Then, touch one foot out to the side on the downbeat while tapping the other in place. Add arm movements: Touch the hips with both hands, tap the shoulders and reach the arms up and out to the sides.
Alternate tapping feet out in front of the chair to salsa music, the spicy Caribbean- and Cuban-inspired beat. March your feet to the beat, adding alternating kicks and stomps on the syncopated rhythm. Another move involves stepping feet together and apart in a four count while clapping. These moves can be done to other types of music, such as the uplifting Colombian-style cumbia and the sensual and rhythmic Spanish flamenco.
Cool down for a few songs with moves similar to the warm-up but add more calming breathing and stretching. Count your heartbeat over a 10-second period and multiply by 6 to get the beats-per-minute rate. This recovery heart rate should be falling toward your resting heart rate. End with a big clap to reward yourself for your efforts.
- Zumba Fitness: About Zumba Fitness
- "Daily Herald"; It's Gold: Seniors shake their booties in Zumba; Ashley Franscell; June 2011
- "Instructor Training Manual - Zumba Gold"; Zumba Fitness; 2010