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Advice on Zumba for Obese Beginners

author image Julie Hampton
Julie Hampton has worked as a professional freelance writer since 1999 for various newspapers and websites including "The Florida Sun" and "Pensacola News Journal." She served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and nurse for over six years and recently worked as the Community Relations Director for a health center. Hampton studied journalism and communications at the University of West Florida.
Advice on Zumba for Obese Beginners
Zumba includes moves from salsa, cha-cha and the merengue. Photo Credit: omgimages/iStock/Getty Images

Zumba is the Latin American exercise dance craze offered in many fitness facilties; yet, if you are obese, fully participating may be difficult. According to American Council on Exercise, people who are obese often do not have positive results with fast-paced choreography classes. Still, if you love Latin music and dance, do not give up on Zumba. A workout you thoroughly enjoy is one you are most likely to stick with.


Know your limits when beginning to work out. Zumba class often lasts for about an hour. Usually 45 minutes are devoted to the dance routines and the remaining time to warming up and cooling down. When starting out you may need additional breaks if breathing becomes difficult. If you feel extremely fatigued by the middle of the class, take a five minute break. Start Zumba class and only stay half the class. Talk to your instructor and indicate you will be leaving about halfway through. Don't forget to cool down on your own by walking through the facility for a few minutes and stretching on your own. Slowly increase the time you spend in class and decrease the number of breaks you take. Most instructors will give a break or two during class for all participants.

Get Comfortable

If you are obese, some of the Zumba dance moves may be difficult for you. Introduce yourself to your instructor before class. Ask if he can give alternative instructions during class for some of the more difficult moves, such as the grapevine or seated spinal twists. Most instructors give alternative moves or jumps during class. As you commit to Zumba class and your body begins to change, you will begin to become more comfortable with these moves.


Being obese, you may not be able to perform all moves in your Zumba class. Do not force yourself into attempting something that will be potentially dangerous. Fast turns and pivots may cause you to loose your balance. If you cannot complete the movement, simply dance in place for a few seconds and pick up where the routine left off. Participants in the class are learning the Zumba class themselves, everyone will miss a step or two.

Invite Friends

Most participants of Zumba state it is fun, enjoyable exercise. Invite others to join your fitness class. Camaraderie keeps you motivated and focused on your fitness goals. Invite friends or co-workers to your class for moral support. You will both learn the dance routines together and you may feel more comfortable.

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