Alternative Fitness #20: Zumba

By Lindsey Last edited 139 months ago

Last Updated 02 October 2012

Alternative Fitness #20: Zumba

Ditch the gym. Try something different.

What: Zumba is a fitness dance party. It's a fun, high-energy workout with roots in aerobics, salsa, and street dance.

The rundown: Class starts with a warm-up then plunges through a playlist of upbeat latin and pop music with different choreography for each track, working different parts of the body. Although it's fast, there's lots of repetition involved, aligned to the verse and chorus of the songs, so you soon conquer the choreography. Your instructor will go through the basics before each track but following their lead is easy and it doesn't matter if you go wrong. Just keep moving, keep sweating, keep smiling and you'll pick it up again.

Is it the right fit for you? Zumba really is for anyone. Even men.

The class we tried takes place in a local school hall where there are no mirrors to worry about, and nobody cares if you go wrong. The class is attended by a regular bunch aged from late teens to later life and each works to their own ability. There's always an easier version of the moves to try if the choreography gets a bit tricky or the arms are confusing but no one gets singled out. It's evident that everyone has fun and there's a social side to classes, with breaks for water and gossip. Our instructor, Kendra, buzzes with energy, makes the class laugh, throws in 'mosh pit' moments and makes everyone feel welcome and included.

Oh, and you burn loads of calories and tone up with all that arm waving, hip wiggling and bouncing about.

Where and when: There are over 1,000 Zumba classes to try across London each week at sports centres and in community venues so you will be able to find a class local to you. Classes cost just £5-6 for a 45-60 minute class and instructors often offer loyalty cards.

We tried and paid for classes with Kendra McMillan at Bounds Green School which cost £5.

Browse the alternative fitness archives for more workout suggestions.