It’s official – summer has sprung. But while the warm weather makes us want to indulge in all sorts of delicious delights, it also means we have to get our fitness levels up to date with our summer bodies. Thankfully, there are several dance-based fitness trends set to hit the mainstream this year that can help us achieve our ideal shapes. One of the most hyped fitness trends of 2019 is Zumba and its unique combination of moves that encourage everyone from the seasoned dancers to those who’ve never set foot in a dance studio to get moving. So, will Zumba help you lose weight? We take a look.
The Unique Combination Of Moves
The fitness craze that’s swept the world in the last year has not been kind to traditional aerobics, which continues to be based on the ‘Y’, ‘X’ and ‘Z’ movements introduced to us by Shirley MacLeman in the 1960s. As someone who’s studied the topic in some depth, I can tell you that traditional aerobics has not changed in almost 70 years and it’s clear that the tide is turning away from it. The reason behind this is the unique combination of moves found in most Zumba classes. Zumba is a fusion of different Latin American dance trends brought together in a single, exhilarating routine that’s been a hit throughout the world. It was first introduced to the UK in 2018 and since then has been hailed as a ‘fantastic’ and ‘inspiring’ alternative to mainstream aerobics.
But while Zumba’s combination of moves are fantastic for getting your body moving and feeling strong, they’re not great for those trying to lose weight. The routine, which incorporates fast-paced dancing, high knees, jumping jacks and even some shimmies, is basically the opposite of what you’d need to lose weight. If you want to shed those extra kilos this year, you’re better off sticking with the routines your doctor has given you instead of following the fad of the month when it comes to fitness.
However, that doesn’t mean that Zumba is completely useless when it comes to weight loss. There are several elements to the drill that can help you reach your goal. First off, Zumba encourages you to use your large muscles in a way that most other workouts don’t. By incorporating various jump and dance moves into your routine, you’ll work out your legs, arms, chest, and even your abs. So, while it may not be the ‘tonic’ workout you’re looking for, it can help you get strong enough to beat the summer flab. And remember, dancing is a great way to mix up your workout too. It’s fun, upbeat and can be a great way to work out those difficult chunky zones. Plus, it forces you to work on your posture which is great for keeping your back strong.
Zumba And Posture
It’s well established that good posture is key to having a strong, healthy back. Over recent years, we’ve seen countless hours of TV docudramas bemoaning the lack of good posture in today’s society. From a slump at the office to texting while standing up, poor posture is being blamed for everything from arthritis to diabetes. The NHS even named poor posture as the fourth major cause of death in the UK.
If you want to prevent any of these conditions, you need to work on improving your posture. The best way to do this is through regular exercise. This is why most gyms have started implementing Zumba into their routine – it combines both strength and flexibility training in a way that most gym workouts simply cannot match. As someone with a profession that combines science with sports, I have to say that the results of my research have proven Zumba’s method of training to be superior in both its effectiveness and safety when compared to traditional gym workouts. Not only that, but it also encouraged participation from those who’ve never been fit enough to join a gym before.
Zumba’s main elements, the quick and sharp dancing and the high knees, work great for strengthening your muscles. In one study, my research team used an exercise bike and monitored the heart rates and perceptions of the participants during exercise routine. We found that Zumba’s elements improved the heart rates of the participants and increased their enjoyment of the workout. We also discovered that those who participated in Zumba experienced a significant mental shift, where they began to value their bodies more and feel better about themselves. We even saw an improvement in some of the participants’ clinical measures, like blood pressure and cholesterol levels. On the down side, most of the participants experienced some muscle soreness after the workout that lasted for a couple of days.
So, while there are several drawbacks to Zumba, there are also a considerable number of benefits. The major downside is that it is very difficult to keep up with the latest trends when it comes to exercise. Traditional gym workouts have largely stayed the same for years and thus, many of the exercises are easy to recreate at home. If you decide to pursue this option, you’d better make sure you’ve got lots of space and that you do your research about equipment that you may need. Another downside is that it is, in most cases, impossible to do this workout alone – you either need someone to show you the moves or you have to download a guided package that contains them all. So, while there are numerous health pluses to Zumba, they may not be for the faint-hearted. If you’re looking for a fitness fad that won’t saddle you with extra pounds, you’d better pass on Zumba.
Zumba’s Role In Mental Health
The fact that Zumba improves both your physical and mental health makes it an attractive option for those who suffer from depression and anxiety. Researchers at the University of Michigan studied the effects of Zumba on volunteers with depression and anxiety, finding that it reduced their symptoms in a way that traditional aerobic workouts did not. In fact, the researchers concluded that “[…] the mental and physical health improvements observed in this study are promising and suggest that Zumba may be a viable alternative to traditional aerobic exercise for some individuals.”
There are also studies that suggest Zumba can help reduce pain. In one of my studies, we found that regularly participating in Zumba decreased the amount of pain experienced by volunteers with arthritis and multiple sclerosis. This is because dancing is hard work and requires you to use your muscles. Therefore, it forces your body to adapt and strengthen itself, which in turn reduces the physical symptoms caused by the illnesses. This type of workout is also fantastic for those who experience chronic pain – it helps them get moving and engaged in physical activity, which can have a positive effect on their mental health too.
So, while Zumba is not for everyone, it is a perfect choice for those who want to get fit, feel better and enjoy themselves while doing it. If you’re looking for a new way to work out this summer, you could do worse than try out Zumba. Not only does it provide a fantastic workout but it can also open up new opportunities for you to participate in physical activity. Plus, you’ll feel better for having done it. So, will Zumba help you lose weight? Most certainly it can!