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Zumba: Stories About its Origin and How it promotes Weight Loss.

Updated on March 31, 2015
Join the exercise party! --
Join the exercise party! --

One night, while flipping through the pages of Reader’s Digest, my eyes caught the word, “Zumba,” with a picture of an unlikely dancer, all decked out in cargo pants and belt, doing a dance stance. Looks like fun. Well, looks like he’s having fun. And no typical sports gear too. I read on, compelled by the picture. The article entitled, “Meet the Man Behind the Zumbo: Beto Perez,” reveals some interesting facts: 90 percent of those enrolled in the Zumba dance and exercise fitness class hates to exercise. Now, that’s me....right, I don’t like any kind of grueling regiment for exercise. My exercise routine consists of walking, jogging, hiking—you get it—free and easy with lots of nature appreciation thrown in. No elliptical training or Thai kick-boxing-- they may sound intriguing but I know they require work. But wait a minute, Zumba promises fun with Latin music thrown in. Now, that’s even better—I may not be a dancer but I certainly like to move to music. And Beto Perez promises, “Anyone can do it.” That’s too enticing to gloss over.

I did some research and here are some encouraging findings for the reluctant “exerciser." By my definition, a reluctant exerciser wants to stay in shape, maintain good health and lose some weight but traditional cardio and aerobics have lost their luster or they are too exacting or boring. If that’s the case, consider Zumba, whose motto is “Ditch the workout. Join the party.” Ready to join the party? But first, I think Beto Perez deserves some proper introduction, since he’s the guy who bought Zumba into existence:

Beto Perez--Creator of Zumba

courtesy of
courtesy of

Beto Perez

Beto Perez is the embodiment of success stories. Like most success stories, his big break didn’t come easy – his persistence and absolute love for dance finally put him on the spot. In the wonderful spotlight of fame and fulfillment. Born in Cali, Columbia, Beto had to work three jobs to sustain his family—his mother was injured by a stray bullet when he was just 14. But his real passion lies in dance, inspired by the movie, “Grease.” With no money for dance lessons, Beto made up for it with raw talent and it didn’t go unnoticed. He won the National Lambada contest when he was only 19 and with that, he was offered a scholarship to study dance while he was teaching aerobics. One day, he forgot his music for his class. Thinking on his feet, he used the Latin music he taped from his radio and improvised dance moves to it. Zumba was born.

But Perez didn’t stop there, he had dreams of taking his workout classes to America. After four trips from Columbia to Miami, he caught the attention of one manager who invited Perez to teach her. What was intended for one person attracted an audience of 15 and it generated so much interest, people were asking how they can enroll.

As they say, the rest is history. That was 1999. Today, five million people take classes every week from 30,000 instructors in 75 countries from Canada to China. More than four million DVDs have found their way into homes and Zumbagear is gaining popularity.

What is Zumba?

Zumba (pronounced “zoomba,”) is Columbian slang for “buzz like a bee and move fast.” It is an hour-long workout with easy to follow fast dance moves alternating wtih  slower ones for an interval-training workout that tones muscles and burn hundreds of calories. All these while jiving to Latin music with an eclectic ensemble of mambo, salsa, cumbia, reggae and calypso. Some pop music are also utilized (Beyonce’s “Single Ladies and Boom Boom Pow to mention a few).

You can zumba at home with the help of DVDs, but nothing beats going to class. The party mood is evident as people of all ages swivel their hips and shimmy to the upbeat tempo. The camaraderie is electrifying as you work out a sweat and you don’t even mind it. As Perez says, “Most of our students hate to exercise. But when the music starts, they forget that.”

Diane Walterstiel, 55, of Alpharetta, Georgia, enthused, “It’s not like a workout. Before I come, I’m tense, but when I leave, I could kiss the world.”

Another Zumba fan, Lilieth Burke, 48, said, “Zumba is not a punishment. I feel fit, I sleep better, I feel better, I feel younger and I feel I can live another 48 years.”


Benefits of Zumba

But fun and party aside, how does Zumba stack up with cardio and aerobics exercises?

According to exercise physiologist Nicole Gunning, Zumba can provide a great cardiovascular workout which includes” calorie burn, increased aerobic threshold, more stamina, increased bone density, improved balance and muscle tone, less body fat, and lower blood pressure.”

Wedmd lists other aesthetic benefits of Zumba:

  • Great mental exercise, giving you sharper minds
  • Tighter abs
  • Sculpts body
  • Social connections

To achieve maximum benefits from your Zumba sessions, lose the inhibitions—let go and enjoy. Dance like no-one is watching! Or if you enjoy attention, dance like everyone is watching.


Zumba Craze Spreads...

So, what are you waiting for? Put on your workout shoes and reach for that baggy pair of cargo pants and head out to the nearest gym or dance center offering Zumba and shimmy away. Your waist will thank you and so will your heart. But not just yet—here are a few things to note before you join the party.

What to wear?

The dress code is as easy to put together as the dance moves—a top and a pair of baggy pants. For ladies, sports bra can give you support as you bounce around. For men, tanks will do. Cargo pants are preferred, though any loose pants or shorts will do.

As for footwear, Zumba instructor, Stephanie Maxim, recommends a pair that has more of a flat base as you have to do a lot of pivoting. A pair with a flat base with a cushiony inside can lessen the feel of torque on the knee.

And don’t forget your water and a towel –you will need them.

Join the Party

If you’re new to Zumba, the creative geniuses at Zumba have come up with a new easier to follow dance routine, called Zumba Gold. It is slightly shorter, lasting about 30 to 45 minutes. Designed for individuals with very little exercise experience, individuals with physical limitations (even those on wheelchair) and the older inactive adults, it promises to deliver as much fun as the basic Zumba workout.

If you're already exercising on a regular basis, Zumbia would be another fun activity but at any rate, anyone can do it. Be sure to check with your doctor or health provider before embarking on any exercise program.


Submit a Comment
  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago

    Thanks, Barbsbitsnpieces, it's really a fun way to exercise. Try it sometime.

  • Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

    Barbara Anne Helberg 

    9 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

    @anglnwu...It's nice to share with you from Singapore!

    The basics of Zumba are new to me, and I really enjoyed this Hub. Although I can't participate in Zumba, it looks and sounds like a wonderful exercise alternative!

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago

    Glad you enjoy dancing and movement. Happy zumbaing, Kloffeekatch gals.

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Zumba is such fun. I love the dancing and movement. Great information.

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago

    Denise, I read yours too. Good work. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 

    10 years ago from North Carolina

    Hi Anglnwu-I just finished a hub about Zumba and saw yours. Great job! I love my Zumba class. Lots of fun.

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago

    ggerner, thanks for dropping by. Give it a try, you'll like it.

  • ggerner profile image


    10 years ago

    My health club offers Zumba classes but I have yet to check it out. I don't know why it's taken me a while since I love Latin music and dancing. After reading your hub, I think it would be a lot of fun.

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    11 years ago

    Money, I'm beginning to like your name. Thanks for your gracious and kind comments. I usually do tons of research before I write, which is why I'm not very productive in terms of number. But I think it pays off--at least with your comments, I know it does. Thanks again for dropping by and I'm sure your sister will like Zumba.

  • Money Glitch profile image

    Money Glitch 

    11 years ago from Texas

    Excellent hub anglnwu, I like the fact that you research your hubs and provide additional links for anyone that wants further info.

    I've never heard of Zumba until now, and it seems like a lot of fun. I will have to show this hub to my sister that loves to dance. Rating up for you! :)

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    11 years ago

    LOL--more women but there are still some brave men. In fact, the women would love to see more men. So put on your dancing shoes (actually workout shoes) and enjoy! Thanks for visiting my hub.

  • hubby7 profile image


    11 years ago from Chicago

    Excellent hub! I enjoyed reading it. It was both well-written and researched. I have been contemplating adding Zumba to my exercise routine; however, it seems like more women are into it than men. Anyway, nice hub!

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    11 years ago

    Jill, sounds like me too--my idea of exercise is walking and more walking. Since doing this hub, I'm thinking of checking zumba out in the fitness centre. Thanks for your kind comments.

  • jill of alltrades profile image

    jill of alltrades 

    11 years ago from Philippines

    This sounds exactly like what I need! The dance moves seem easy too! I think I'll love this. I love dancing anyway.

    My idea of exercise is just a walk with plenty of stops as I take pictures along the way! Ha ha ha.

    Thanks for this wonderful hub anglnwu!

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    11 years ago

    hypnodude, woody legs--is that your excuse? I know, I'm not much of a dancer too but zumba doesn't require much coordination, just the ability to move and I think you can do that. Anyway, always a pleasure to hear from u and you can yourself a nice day.

  • hypnodude profile image


    11 years ago from Italy

    I've woody legs, so dancing isn't really for me, but I liked this hub, interesting and the layout is great. Both thumbs up anglnwu, well done. :)

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    11 years ago

    Cassidella, thanks for your kind words--glad you like it.

  • Cassidella profile image


    11 years ago

    Hi anglnwu. I like this hub from start to finish! It is dynamic in content and presentation.

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    11 years ago

    Good morning, Maita. Good for you--zumba away.

  • prettydarkhorse profile image


    11 years ago from US

    I like zumba, because I love dancing YEHEY! morning angel! Maita

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    11 years ago

    Pamela, first of all, congrats--I mean to get over your hub to leave a congratulatory note but i've been busy. Thanks for dropping by and I'm glad you're familiar with Zumba.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Anginwu, I talked about Zumba in my hub too. It is so much fun and I have been doing it for a couple of years at the fitness center near my home., except lately since I have asthma that's flared up. I didn't know who started it. Good hub.


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