PARTNER Urban Sport of the Week WORKOUT

Interview: The unexpected benefits of Zumba

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After our high-energy dance class we caught up with our Zumba teacher Laura to find out more about the mood-boosting activity and whether the dance moves ever get any easier…

USC: Hi Laura! How did you first discover Zumba?

I started doing Zumba classes during my studies – it was great exercise and a good way to meet people. So I never quit – I’m a full-time primary school teacher and I teach Zumba at Active Fitness twice a week.

USC: What did you love about Zumba when you first tried it?

I had the same experience as you had today – my first class was so difficult; there were so many movements and I didn’t know how to do any of them. But I made friends with people who went every week and that was really motivating so I continued going and it got easier. Then I decided to train go be a teacher and start my own classes.

USC: Why did you decide to try Zumba in the first place?

I was living and studying in Dortmund and the gym had group Zumba classes so I went to try something different and loved it. Some people never go back after the first class – they think they messed up and can’t do it and that they’re terrible at Zumba. But everyone there is happy and moving and that’s what it’s all about. You just move your feet for one hour, have a lot of fun and that’s the most important thing. No one cares if you’re bad, just enjoy yourself.

USC: It can be overwhelming with all the dance moves – does it ever get easier?

If you come every week then even the new tracks are easier than the first time – there are some basic steps that you repeat all the time. The first class is always hardest, the second class is easier and then you get to know how Zumba works and the music and you’ll start knowing the moves!

USC: Did you dance before you became a Zumba teacher?

I’ve danced since I was a kid – I started with jazz dance when I was little and I dance salsa and bachata now – so similar music to Zumba.

USC: What are the health benefits of Zumba?

It’s cardio mixed with some interval training so we have songs that are fast and some slow – that keeps the heart rate up. I also try to incorporate strength training like squats and lunges but it’s mainly cardio.

USC: Do you make up the choreography yourself?

You have the choice – there’s a Zumba network where you get music and choreography from but you can find loads of choreography on the internet. Many teachers will share their dances online, so I like to mix it up and choose my own playlist and choreography. This mean every Zumba class is different – every teacher has their own style and character.

USC: Is there a strong community in your Zumba classes?

Yes, it’s awesome. Some meet outside the gym and I’ve made new friends, too! The two girls today in the front row came to my class and we made friends and now we go for drinks and coffee – we even did a 10km run together!

The Saturday morning class is always super chatty – it’s a great atmosphere but sometimes it’s hard to get started because they talk so much!

USC: Have there been any moments since you became a Zumba teacher that have made you really proud or happy?

Every time someone comes to a class and I can see they’re stressed or are in a bad mood, and then slowly throughout the class they start to smile and afterwards I can see they feel better. Those moments are always great to see.

If you’d like to try out Laura’s Zumba class pay a visit to Fitness Unlimited in Düsseldorf.

And Urban Sports Club has tons of dance partners across Germany, Italy and France – take a look at our site to see what’s happening near you.

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