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Zumba Vs. Indoor Cycling

author image Nicole Crawford
Nicole Crawford is a NASM-certified personal trainer, doula and pre/post-natal fitness specialist. She is studying to be a nutrition coach and RYT 200 yoga teacher. Nicole contributes regularly at Breaking Muscle and has also written for "Paleo Magazine," The Bump and Fit Bottomed Mamas.
Zumba Vs. Indoor Cycling
Zumba can be quite a workout. Photo Credit: studio1901/iStock/Getty Images

Zumba and indoor cycling both provide a high-energy workout that burns a lot of calories in a small amount of time. Both types of exercise are also adaptable for a variety of age groups and fitness levels. However, there are several key differences between the two that may make one more desirable than the other for your own exercise program.

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Calories Burned

Zumba and indoor cycling are both flexible workouts, and the amount of calories burned varies from person to person. Generally speaking, Zumba burns between 350 and 900 calories per hour, according to Zumba of Michigan. The average person typically burns about 400 to 500 calories per 40-minute workout in an indoor cycling class. As with any workout, your weight, body type and the intensity level of your workout will determine how many calories you burn.

Muscles Used

Zumba is more of a total-body workout than indoor cycling, which primarily engages the muscles in the lower body. Zumba primarily engages the core muscles, as well as the hips, as noted by instructor Amanda Nelson in the "Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel." Indoor cycling works the quadriceps and hamstrings, as well as the muscles in the upper torso. Although it is primarily an aerobic workout, you can also get an anaerobic workout for the legs by increasing the resistance.

The Zumba Workout

If workouts could be said to have personalities, Zumba and indoor cycling are definitely opposites. A Zumba workout is high-energy and involves lots of booty-shaking and hip rocking. The official Zumba website describes it as an "exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party." If you have reservations about dancing in front of other people, you might not enjoy it. Then again, you might find that it helps you break out of your shell and shed a few pounds as well.

Indoor Cycling Workout

Indoor cycling is also fun and energizing, but with a bit more reserve. A typical stationary cycling class lasts about 40 minutes and involves several cycling drills done to music. Stationary bikes allow the participants to adjust resistance settings to their own comfort level, and the instructor provides guidance and demonstrates drills. If you reach an advanced level, you can do difficult moves like jumps and sprints to get a more intense workout and burn more calories. In an average class, participants will cycle about 15 to 20 miles on the stationary bike.

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