Zumba Fitness logo There is a fitness craze that has been heating up the nation over the last few years and is finally gaining widespread exposure around the world. It's called Zumba and it may seem a bit intimidating at first. But if you love people, love to dance, and feel like grooving to hot Latin music, then you should check out a Zumba class or an organized Zumba party near you. You may have seen their infomercials on TV, or noticed a class advertised at your local gym or dance studio. There are ways to check it out for free, and then you can decide if you like it enough to keep it up by signing up for a class or purchasing a DVD.

Zumba was introduced in the United States in 1999 by Alberto "Beto" Perez, a fitness instructor and a native of Colombia. One day he was forced to improvise his aerobics class routine as a result of forgetting his usual collection of songs, and a new style was born. The music used in the classes includes salsa, meringue, and various other types of Latin American and Caribbean influences. Many instructors get even more creative by incorporating hip-hop tunes and belly dancing routines. Zumba instructors combine easy dance moves with specific cardio and strength training exercises in order to burn a lot of calories and improve overall fitness.

The instructors at Zumba classes and parties are friendly and full of energy, and they present short choreographed routines made up of simple dance steps that are easy to follow. Best of all, the larger parties usually have a lot of people dancing at once, so if you're unsure of yourself, you can just stand in the back of the group and follow everyone else! The first Zumba party I attended was at a local Cuban restaurant, so I got to enjoy some phenomenal food before getting busy on the dance floor. There were whole families participating, and age was not a factor. It was an inclusive community experience. I attended with my best girl friend, and we had a great girls' night out.

Zumba classes have become more widely available as demand for them has increased at gyms, YMCAs, and other local fitness and recreational centers. In addition to the basic classes, some Zumba fitness programs offer fun variations such as classes and DVDs for kids and seniors, and the latest options include toning and aqua workouts. As with any exercise class, be sure to dress comfortably if you attend a Zumba class or party. Workout attire is the most appropriate option, and the right shoes are a must. Dance sneakers or cross training shoes provide support and ease of movement. Don't forget to drink plenty of water too! Aside from that, have fun and "join the party!"