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Zumba marked its 20th anniversary last year since being founded in 2001 by Columbian dancer and choreographer Alberto Perez. But for many, Zumba classes are still relatively new. So, what exactly is Zumba?

Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance-based fitness class. Zumba classes are considered cardio and aerobic workouts due to the ability to increase the heart rate and burn calories.

Is Zumba Popular?

Zumba classes have gained in popularity across the world and are now offered in 180 countries at 200,000 locations, according to the official website One of the reasons often cited for its popularity is that “there is no right or wrong way to do it,” according to its creator. Additionally, those who have a passion for dance find it freeing that they don’t need a partner to dance merengue, salsa, rumba, cha cha and many other styles practiced in a Zumba class.

What are the health benefits of Zumba?

Depending on the type, length and intensity of the class you are taking, you can typically burn 300 – 600 calories per Zumba class. According to instructor Tara Polhamus, “The beauty of Zumba is a participant can make it low or high impact. It’s their workout; so they choose what is best for them.” Due to the increased heart rate during Zumba classes, benefits can also include reduced blood pressure, regulated blood sugar, strengthened immune system, improved sleep and increased endorphins to fight stress and depression. Zumba is also great for balance, coordination and range of motion.

What is best to wear to a Zumba class?

Prepare to sweat! Wear clothing that is cool and comfortable and breathes well. Wear supportive sneakers that will make your moves more enjoyable. Ideally footwear that is geared for dance with smoother bottoms that won’t grip the floor and keep you stuck in place.

What’s the best way to get started?

All abilities are welcome and you don’t need to be a dancer to enjoy. Modifications are shown in class to make it workable for everyone.

Zumba Gold is offered at some club locations which is Zumba class taught at a lower intensity and is a good place for those to start that may not have previously been performing regular cardio exercise. If you have concerns with your knees or hips, Aqua Zumba, held in the pool, is also offered at some locations.  Zumba Instructor Marcela Charris says, “I have been teaching for 16 years. I have seen members coming to my class with zero experience and I love to see how well they get class by class. We love welcoming any member who wants to be a part of this crazy, amazing Zumba community!”