travelwriter21 is going to Zumba and stair-climb her way to fitness. Follow her journey! —Sparkitors
This May, I’ll be participating in a Maymester class at my college that involves a nine-day paddling trip down a river in Utah. Why, you ask? Because I can. Unfortunately, my previous paddling experience involved sitting in a canoe in a lake somewhere with my dad in the seat behind me doing all the real work while I half-heartedly pawed at the water with my paddle. Eventually my younger sister took over paddling and somehow did a much better job than me, even though she is five years younger and about as intimidating as a particularly polite noodle.
Based on this experience, I have realized that I may have to actually work out in order to be prepared for this trip. Luckily, my college is of the large public variety and as such offers a big recreation center (read: “gym”) that is free for current students. Since a couple of my friends already attended the class with some regularity, I decided to begin my journey to fitness (codename: Operation Beastmode) with a zumba class.
For those of you unfamiliar with this fine method of exercise, zumba is basically latin-inspired dancing, only altered slightly to be less cool and more exercisey. To quote the website, zumba is supposed to inspire a “fitness party.” I’m not sure what a fitness party is, but it doesn’t sound very fun. It does, however, sound sweaty, and in my experience, sweaty equals healthy, so that works for me. Zumba classes at the recreation center last an hour, which I believe is about average for a zumba class.
Prior to my quest to be an out-of-shape person, the only exercise I got was riding my bike to my classes and any meetings on campus. This, of course, did not do anything to help with my natural lack of dancing skill. During class, I generally flopped around like an idiot, half a step behind everyone else. (The class was led by an instructor who puts on some music and just sort of starts dancing as everyone else tries to keep up.) To my dismay, I found that there is a shocking amount of rear-shakin’ (as a pioneer, or perhaps a whaler, would call it) involved in zumba. Being bad at dancing, this was quite difficult for me. Mostly because I am not entirely sure how to move my hips. Additionally, there is a large amount of jumping around and some fancy footwork that I was not quite able to figure out during the first class, but have subsequently been able to gain some understanding of.
To anyone considering trying zumba, I would say go for it. It’s not so hard that someone out of shape can’t jump into it, but not so easy that it won’t get you in shape, or that it wouldn’t provide a decent workout for an already fit person. Also, some of the dance moves can be a bit embarrassing (shoulder rolls, anyone?) but remember that everyone else looks just as ridiculous, which is a good life lesson anyway.
Have you ever Zumba'd?