Five Reasons Why I Will Always Love Zumba

I love to dance.

Back in the day I was a serious jazz hands kid (I know – shocker right)? I danced as a cat while someone sang Memory. I played Quasimodo, Orphan Annie and Old Martin from Royal Hunt of the Sun (I’m sorry I never spoke slowly enough Mr Sharpe. I’m still working on that). I took my Dance GCSE at 13, and the only A I got at A-Level was in Dance. At one point I was even seriously considering going to a theatre university until I realised I really wasn’t good enough for all that.

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Another Drama Queen

These days, I’ll dance when I’m feeding the cat. I’ll dance in the changing rooms at work when (I think) no one else is there. I’ll dance after any amount of Prosecco. And that is precisely why Zumba is part of my weekly workout regime. I just love it.

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Dancing after Prosecco

However, sometimes when I tell people in fitness that I regularly do Zumba as part of my weekly workout regime, you can see them desperately trying to stop their eyes from rolling back in their head. And I get it – dance based classes aren’t for everyone, and they sometimes struggle to see the benefits of it. But Zumba is the absolute bee’s knees for some people, including myself. And here are 5 reasons why:

It’s Accessible

Every Zumba class I’ve been to has been attended by people of all ages and all fitness levels. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been out of fitness for a while or if you run, swim, spin, lift weights and more in seven days. A good instructor (like my incredible instructor and friend Lucy) will make sure there are high and low impact versions of the various exercises so that it’s suitable for everyone. You work to your ability, not everyone else’s.

It’ll Improve Your Coordination

It may take a little while, especially if you’ve got two left feet, but the basic steps in Zumba tend to be repeated through the different routines so you’ll find you pick them up pretty quickly. Once you’ve got the merengue and the single, single, double nailed, there’ll be no stopping you.

It’s a Serious Calorie Burner

Have a quick search on Google and you’ll find no end of stories of people who have successfully lost a lot of weight and improved their fitness thanks to Zumba. Depending on your fitness level, you could burn anything from 400 to 1000 calories in a class.

It’s a Mood Enhancer

Research from the University of Derby has shown that a combination of exercise, social interaction and the concentration learning a new skill requires significantly boosted the mood of those suffering from depression. The uplifting atmosphere of a Zumba class coupled with upbeat music cannot fail to release those endorphins. And when your favourite routine comes on (Here to Stay (Electronic/Glitch Hop) or Feel This Moment for me) I defy you not to whoop and dance like you’re flipping Beyonce. This is the main reason I do Zumba. It never fails to put me in a brilliant mood.

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This is how I look doing Zumba

It’s a Social Hub

There are now so many people I can call friends thanks to Zumba. Off the top of my head there’s Lucy, Elaine, Niaz, Tamsin, Clare, Olga, Angela, Hannah, Julie, Sally, Kirsty, Viv, Nella, Iryna and probably loads of others (don’t be offended if you’re not here – it’s 11:30 at night. I still love you). It’s such a sociable class and I usually spend the whole hour laughing my head off, and not just because of some of Lucy’s descriptions of the moves – pumpy pumpy anyone?

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Zumba FRIENDS

There are loads of other reasons why dance based classes are a fun and valid fitness option, but these are the ones that came to mind first. And surely ANYTHING that gets people moving can only be a good thing.

This also seems the right blog post to do a shout out to Sweaty Betty’s recent Rave Dance class which I attended with TheeMiddleSis. I wish so much that this was something they could do every couple of months rather than an annual(ish) event, but basically it’s exactly as it sounds – a dance aerobics class with flipping GLOW STICKS for crying out loud! The free class was led by the ball of energy that is Jo Hopkins, and I vote that they make it a semi-regular thing! Just brilliant, brilliant fun.

Right – now who fancies a dance?

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Endorphin producing awesomeness

My Running Beginnings

Because we need another running/fitness blog right?

My name is Lauren, and I got into running a little later in life than normal (Girl Running Late – geddit?). I was never a naturally sporty child, although I tried really, really hard at everything the PE teachers threw at me. I think the only thing I ever won at school was a skipping race:

SkippingI mean, just look at that focus. And that outfit. 

Then I entered the secondary school wilderness years, where unless you were one of the top notch, super athletic sport stars, the PE teachers didn’t really show an interest in you. Many years then passed in half-arsed gym memberships with the conviction that my dancing in clubs was probably enough exercise.

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Not a fit child right there. I remember that t-shirt though.

Then in 2010, I was on a business trip and I couldn’t get on my preferred cross trainer at the hotel gym as they were all full of women reading magazines as they barely got their heart rates above resting pace. So, I looked at the daunting, shiny treadmills, and thought I’d give one of them a bash instead. Finding I enjoyed it far more than I expected, and that I didn’t fall off and make a total idiot of myself, I took up road plodding/running when I got back to the UK. It wasn’t long after that when I heard that a friend of a friend – who was only a couple of years older than me – had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time that the mighty CoppaFeel!, a charity I’d supported for a while, was looking for runners for their team at the Bath Half. It felt like it was meant to be. So, just 11 months after that fateful day with a treadmill, I ran my first half marathon in a time of 1:53:26, and I’ve been running ever since.

So there you have it. I am now a fully paid up member of the fitness loving crew, and alongside running I love yoga, zumba and metabolic conditioning amongst other things. I’m a complete endorphin junkie, and I hope you enjoy reading about the fitness shenanigans I get up to. Plus there will be much bright fitness gear. I don’t do boring workout clothes. You’ll soon find this out.

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