You may have heard of Zumba, the world-wide, dance-fitness phenomenon - but have you heard of Zumba Gold? It was designed with older people in mind and is perfect for anyone who wants to burn calories and strengthen their muscles, all while enjoying a bit of a boogie. You don't need to leave the house to try Zumba - there are loads of fantastic resources online to get you started. So if you're looking for a fun and mood-boosting new activity for lockdown, Zumba Gold is perfect. Here's everything you need to know...
"I go every week and absolutely love it."
Created in the late-nineties, the now world-famous exercise program was developed by Alberto “Beto” Perez, an expert choreographer and Colombian dancer.
Zumba may feel a bit like a disco but is in fact an aerobic workout which combines various dance moves, including those from salsa, samba, mambo, cha cha and more, all to the sound of fabulous Latin music. It boasts numerous health benefits, both mental and physical, and is one of the most popular exercises among women in the UK today.
If you want to get started with Zumba, you don't have to wait until lockdown finishes. While there is certainly value in going to a group class where you can get your footing down to a tee, you can also have fun and start to familarise yourself with the basics from your living room. Just put on your favourite leggings and waggle to one of their official Zumba Gold exercise videos.
Make sure to wear comfortable clothes that will allow you to dance easily - it's a good idea to invest in a proper sportswear outfit, something that absorbs sweat and allows you to stay cool as you move. You will need to wear trainers, as they are comfortable and flexible but also provide good support.
"I go every week - I found it hard at first, but once you get into it it's fun and very energising. And this is someone who never went to any sort of exercise class before retirement!"
As the more mature sister of the original workout, Zumba Gold is ideal for older adults and beginners due to it’s easy-to-follow choreography, slower pace and shorter class length. No experience is required and you can be any fitness level to start.
Though a lower intensity than regular Zumba, the hip-shaking classes still allow you to work up a sweat - and are lots of fun too! And, while also being an excellent form of cardio, it strengthens muscles and improves flexibility, balance and coordination.
"You follow the instructions that the teacher shouts out, but you can also see what they're doing with their arms and feet and you can mirror them, i.e, if she steps forward on her right foot, you step forward on your left. Failing that, you copy the person in front of you. Some of the dances are in mambo or salsa time and fairly energetic but some are slower, in a tango or slow cha cha rhythm."
"I love it. I found the gym a bit lonely but having fun in a Gold class is just great."
Zumba is a bit of an all-rounder really, in that it helps you lose weight, tones your body and is lots of fun. Here are just some of the ways that going to Zumba classes can benefit you.
Studies from the Journal of Physiology found that frequent exercise, such as Zumba, can improve heart health and keep the arteries young. For example, it by getting your blood pumping it can lower blood pressure, which can help prevent various diseases such as heart disease, stroke and angina. This can also result in healthier cholesterol levels and better blood sugar regulation.
Due to the muscle-conditioning, all-body workout of Zumba, your body will thank you by becoming stronger, leaner and more toned. Once you become more advanced, you can also step up to the challenge of Zumba Gold Toning which sculpts your body to no end.
Thanks to your newly-strengthened muscles, you'll gain better posture, balance and flexibility. Around one in three older adults have at least one fall a year, and although they usually aren't serious, it's not unheard of for these types of falls to result in broken bones. In a recent study, it was found that exercise can reduce the amount of falls in older people by at least 23%, so get your dancing shoes on, girls!
Looking at that dress in your wardrobe and wishing that it still fit? Zumba Gold is ideal for anyone looking to lose some weight as it's an excellent form of cardio which burns calories at an impressive speed. However, as always, make sure to enjoy a balanced and nutritious diet.
According to a study in the European Journal of Sport Science, after just 8-weeks of classes, women's mental health and self-esteem increased. Furthermore, the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that many women said they felt a new found independence and that they their lives had more purpose.
Making friends can be difficult at any age, but even more so as we get older. However, if you decide that Zumba Gold is indeed right for you, you can get a membership for a regular class which gives you the opportunity to meet more people.
Zumba is unlike any other workout programme - as their website puts it, they're a 'dance fitness revolution' which you'll absolutely love. It's also a great hobby to have and you'll really feel a sense of accomplishment when you start to pick up the pace!
If you can believe it, there are 8 official different types of Zumba for adults:
The original, classic version.
Modified specifically for older adults and beginners.
A combination of the original workout and step, resulting in a higher level of calorie-burning and muscle-strengthening.
By adding the use of resistance equipment, such as light weights or 'toning sticks', you can focus on specific muscles and tone quicker and harder.
This is, you guessed it, Zumba in water. As water offers a natural resistance, you will be able to tone your muscles faster than in normal Zumba.
This version includes the use of a chair in your workout and is an excellent all-round workout.
Popular among older people who want to focus on muscle conditioning.
This combines circuit resistance training and Zumba for an intense, calorie-burning exercise programme.
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