Sweat dripping down my back, struggling to catch a breath as I tire myself out on the treadmill. Day in and day out, running miles to try and get fit. I was always scared to lift weights while growing up. Mom used to say Iâ€™d bulk up like a man, of course, that was far from the truth. Lifting helps the body improve metabolism, tones muscles and burns calories at rest. During cardio, your heart rate increases allowing an increased need for blood and nutrients in your muscles. In this process there is also an increase in the number of waste products produced, that must be removed. Regular cardiorespiratory exercise can help lose weight, reduce stress and decrease fatigue. A good exercise regime incorporates cardio and weight training.
Unaware, of these benefits, I solely decided to slog my hours on the treadmill. With so much effort and barely any results, I decided to change up my routine. Incorporate activities with high bursts of energy and build muscle in the process. I soon came to realize; weight training was not the only way to tone and increase muscle mass. There were ways to effectively use your body weight to do so. Some examples include swimming â€“ a great full-body workout that is low impact, Pilates â€“ exercises that target muscle groups with minimum jumping and have complete focus on breathing and Zumba â€“ a complete workout with cardio and weight training routines.
Zumba, An effective Workout Routine?
Zumba is a dance-based fitness program. It is a fun alternative for people of all ages and backgrounds to adopt as an entertaining way to stay fit. Its a great form of exercise for an adult to live a healthy lifestyle. On average, a cumulative ofÂ 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity in a week is necessary. You can achieve this with this energetic program that burns calories during the day as well as when the body is at complete rest.
How to Get Started
Being extremely popular in todayâ€™s time, there are numerous Zumba institutes on every block. You can locate someÂ well-established places through google or even take a stroll around your neighborhood. Many places offer free demo classes, to help understand exactly what services would be offered. There are also many healthy awareness events that take place with communities all over the country. These events take place both indoors and outdoors in exciting venues, like the beach or parks.
Incorporating a busy work schedule and daily amounts of physical exercise can sometimes be tough when you donâ€™t have flexible timings. Without needing to compromise on physical exercise, I was happy to learn you could select the time slot of your choosing. Classes were categorized based on age and intensity, which you can opt for according to your fitness goal, i.e. weight loss, toning or even low-intensity workouts. I chose the 18-25 age group and intense training category.
What to Expect
At the institute, the week is divided. Each day is strategically planned out to target a different kind of workout to best cater to your needs. This was a change in pace. Zumba offered athletic dance routines, Pilates, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) routines as well as dynamic stretches. The class is usually for 60 minutes and is a combination of the sole workout of each category.
Allowing your body to channel the most energy, class begins with some dynamic stretches and a nice beat. The music tuned to help you work on activating every muscle one by one. As you come to the end of the stretches, you can feel your body heating up, ready to kill the next 45 minutes. Not only do stretches act as a warm-up but they also increase your balance and flexibility and prevent any injuries. This follows with either dance routines or Pilates.
Alternate days are focused purely on cardio. Tapping into a large cloud of top musical hits, trainers teach variations of dance routines that are easy to pick up. Each song comprises of regular dance moves that repeat in low and high intensities with the incorporation of everyday exercises like burpees or squats. Each song is oriented to target a specific muscle group. As you groove to the beat, by the end of the sequence, you get a full-body workout.Â The remaining days are a nice combination of dancing to your favorite songs and doing some basic exercises. Floor exercises are a great way to focus on your breathing and burn extra calories without having to lift weights.
After an intense workout, it is now time for cooling down. Class ends with some static stretching to reduce built-up muscle tension and elongate contracted and constricted muscles. Stretching after a workout helps increase performance and allows you to use your muscles in a greater range of motion.
Designed specifically to use your body weight to tone your muscles, Zumba helps improves posture without adding extra pressure on your joints. Activating your core with intense abs, youâ€™re trained to gain core strength. This is the foundation of good form helping to improve focus and concentration.Â You can achieve balance and an enhanced sense of rhythm and coordination, with numerous dance routines. With floor exercises, you not only work your abs, but you also work your entire mid-section which includes your back and sides. This is a great way of providing rehab for back pain or back-related issues, alleviating tenderness and soreness slowly but effectively. So essentially, youâ€™re toning your body while having a great time!
Everything has its ups and downs, while it seems Zumba has numerous health benefits, there are a few downfalls. As stated, itÂ can be a very effective way of losing weight. However, if this dance-based workout routine is not done regularly, it may cause a sudden gain in weight. Apart from this, since this form of exercise can be fast in pace, it can lead to injuries from falling, tripping or muscle sprains. The environment can also be pretty loud. It is not a suitable option for someone looking for a more relaxing form of exercise like yoga.Â It is advised to be careful and aware of your surroundings during Zumba.
During one Zumba class, ideally, you can burn around 600 calories, depending on the energy put forth. However, it is important to note that no matter how much exercise you partake in unless you live a completely healthy lifestyle, results will be bleak. This means avoiding junk food, eating the correct number of calories according to your sex and BMI (Body Mass Index) and getting a prescribed 7-9 hours of sleep.
Is Zumba a good option?
Zumba was an eye-opener, it allowed for freedom of athletic expression and snubbed monotony. Working out no longer felt like a chore. It became something I wanted to do, something I looked forward to. Zumba created an atmosphere of fun, excitement and pure energy. Youâ€™re left feeling rejuvenated, happy and 100 times more efficient during the day. Apart from being a stellar source of exercise, Zumba also gives you a sense of community. Being introduced to a large group of diverse people in and around your area, you have the option of meeting a bunch of amazing, talented and inspiring people. If performed regularly and with caution, Zumba isÂ a complete package of fun and exercise, suitable and specifically catered to any age group!