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Description of Zumba Dancing

Description of Zumba Dancing
Young people are exercising in a Zumba class. Photo Credit kzenon/iStock/Getty Images

You might hear a lot about Zumba, but you're not sure exactly what it is or why it's such a big deal. Zumba is a Spanish word that means "buzz like a bee and move fast," notes the American Council on Exercise. It's an increasingly popular type of exercise class that's being done in 125 countries by more than 12 million people, as of 2012.

How it Started

Zumba first came to be by a mistake made by fitness trainer, Alberto "Beto" Perez. When Perez mistakenly forgot to bring along his normal music tape to his exercise class, he grabbed a Latin dance music tape and began teaching his class some fun dance moves that he knew from dancing in Salsa clubs. From there, it became a favorite class at the gym where he taught. Perez brought Zumba with him to Miami in 1999 and from there it's popularity has soared and spread across the globe.

Popularity of Zumba

One of the largest draws of Zumba and what makes it such a huge success is how fun and exciting it is to do. When you're participating in a Zumba group class, it doesn't really feel like you're exercising. Instead, it feels more like you're movin' and groovin' at a dance party or club. Zumba, along with other dance-style workouts, was ranked 9th in the top 20 fitness trends for 2012, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Types of Zumba

You can participate in a Zumba dance workout in a variety of ways, including doing Zumba at home with a workout video or interactive Zumba video game. You can also take one of the broad range of Zumba classes offered. Zumba Fitness is a high-energy dance party. Aqua Zumba incorporates toning and cardio-conditioning in a low-impact water dance class. Zumba toning uses toning sticks or small free weights to tone your abs, thighs and arms. Kids can even get in on the Zumba action, with a Zumba Kids class, filled with age-appropriate music and dancing.

Why It's Effective

Even though Zumba is lively and exciting -- making it not feel like exercise -- it can still give you a beneficial and effective workout. It's a whole-body aerobic exercise that uses up a lot of energy and burns calories through dancing. Zumba can improve your flexibility, since there's so much movement involved, and it can help to strengthen your core, according to ACE. Since you'll burn an average of 369 calories in one class, it's also an ideal way of aiding in weight loss or maintenance.

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