Paula Wesson, Lifestyles Editor
Zumba is everywhere. The fusion of dance and aerobics started in Colombia and is now taught in more than 150 countries. Zumba even appeared on Season 13 of “Biggest Loser”. You can even take Zumba at Cedar Crest College for free.
If you tried Zumba before and didn’t like it, you may want to consider trying again with a different instructor. Each Zumba instructor does things differently.
When I took Zumba in Harrisburg, the instructor taught with her back to us. The instructor at Cedar Crest, Shawn Schmitt, spends most of the class time facing her students, but she also moves around the room, interacting with students.
If you’ve never tried this fast-paced workout before, it will take some getting used to. Schmitt recommended new students take at least three classes before making up their mind.
Schmitt also said, “Go at your own pace…If you feel like you can’t do it all, just do the footwork or just do the arms. Do one or the other.”
You may also feel more comfortable if you go with a group of friends. Sophomore Stephanie Evans and her friends enjoyed going to Zumba together last year.
Evans, a biodiversity and conservation biology double major, stopped going to Zumba after injuring her knee. I, too, have a bum knee, which is occasionally irritated by some moves. So I was excited to try Aqua Zumba.
Whether you’re an experienced Zumba student or you’ve never attended a Zumba class, you may also want to consider trying Aqua Zumba.
Jillian Fontana, one of the Aqua Zumba instructors at the Rodale Aquatic Center, wants to dispel the myth that water aerobic classes are only for the elderly. Fontana, a former dancer, became interested in Aqua Zumba after tearing her ACL.
Water makes this class easier on the joints, but the resistance also provides a challenge. Imagine kicking and punching while standing in water up to your shoulders. In addition to the usual arm and leg moves, you’ll do a little floating, which engages your abdominals.
You may also feel less uncomfortable when you mess up, because no one will be looking under the water at your feet. They’ll be looking up at the instructor on the deck around the pool.
The Rodale Aquatic Center offers Aqua Zumba twice a week. Like all programs offered at the pool, Cedar Crest students can attend at no cost. Aqua Zumba classes are also offered at the Bethlehem YMCA, Spring Creek Apartments Clubhouse in Macungie, and the Northern Lehigh Swimming Pool in Victory Park.
If you can’t make it to a class, you can also try Zumba in your own home. There are several Zumba DVD collections and games for XBOX Kinnect and Wii. There’s even a 20 minute “rush” workout DVD.
Beginners will appreciate the options to break down some of the moves step-by-step, learn the moves through verbal commands, or watch without either.
The DVDs also offer a better variety of moves because Zumba classes tend to repeat the same songs each class. The instructors even encourage you to put your own spin on the dance moves.
To find Zumba and Aqua Zumba near your hometown or to purchase DVDs or games, visit http://www.zumba.com.