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Beginning Zumba Tips

by
author image Faith Watson
Faith Watson owns Exercise In Disguise Alternative Fitness Studio in Gilberts, Ill., is a PMA-certified Pilates teacher, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, and an official Zumba instructor. She also specializes in non-diet weight management and wellness lifestyle coaching. Previously, Watson was a copywriter and brand strategist for large clients in health care and technology.
Beginning Zumba Tips
Beginning Zumba Tips Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Even if you're a complete beginner in the world of aerobics, dance or group fitness classes, you can find yourself having fun and losing weight with a Zumba class routine. It doesn't take much time or concentration to learn how to Zumba. Whether you join a class or follow along at home with Zumba DVDs, a few simple tips will help you get the most out of your new workout.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Zumba was developed to provide a general class membership with a way to unite and enjoy a unique type of fitness experience. If you decide to Zumba, the first thing you should remember is that Zumba is all about keeping a smile on your face and a song in your heart. One of the company's official slogans tells you to "Join the Party," and Zumba instructors are trained to offer you an accessible, safe experience. There is no need to worry if you don't get every step correct. The Zumba organization believes you should find joy in your classes as you move freely and confidently in your own body, whatever size, shape or age you might be. There are no comparisons to be made and no class levels to achieve, other than your own personal fitness goals.

Know the Basic Steps

Part of the appeal of a Zumba program is how you can learn new things that inspire you to continue as you add to your fitness level along the way. Learning the basic Latin dance steps used in most Zumba classes will help you move more and move faster in your dances, increasing your energy expenditure and your enjoyment. The four basic steps in Zumba classes are merenge, salsa, cumbia and reggaeton. These styles form a foundation for every Zumba dancer and lead to variations that will keep your interest high. An at-home DVD series explains these four basic steps and offers numerous dances that use them for different songs. Live classes follow the same format, so knowing the basics will serve you well no matter how you get your Zumba fix.

Just Follow Along

Zumba is choreographed to provide several different fitness elements without requiring too much explanation or technique. All you need to do in a class or in your living room with a DVD is follow along. When the instructor goes one way, you should move in that direction too. Just be a mirror to the teacher in front of you. You should also follow along when it comes to the pace and the intensity of the movements. For quick dances, make your steps smaller and don't try to add arms until you have the footwork down. The goal is to move to a quick song, not to slow down to get every nuance down to perfection. When the steps are large or slow, use control like the instructor. When moving your hips or shoulders, really move them! Your instructor is not shy, nor should you be. Aim to reach the energy level of your teacher. If you do that, even as a beginner, you will have a super-effective workout no matter what steps you missed or mastered.

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