Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Jul 2018 12:41:14



By yoshita rao

It was pure curiosity that led me to take the trendy Zumba class after work one day, egged on by slim smiling supermodel ads. Well, you know what they say about curiosity and the cat. Half an hour into the intense workout, the draconian trainer kept yelling at me for being the most uncoordinated in the room. “Kick up, kick up,” she bellowed, while I kept a tab on the slowly ticking clock at the back wondering when this would all be over and I’d get to go home to a decent meal.

The hour-long workout was complete with three sets of ten repetitions of squats, with breaks in between for lunges, mixed with aerobics, some hip-hop moves, interspersed with Bollywood choreography and finally Latin dancing. There was also a hint of belly dancing somewhere in between, but I was too exhausted to keep up with the snake-twisting moves.Sixty-year-olds in my class, who had been attending Zumba for over a month, had a lot more energy than me - a non-committed, occasional exerciser. This is perhaps the reason why companies like Accenture, Google, and Star India among others, are resorting to Zumba to energise their employees. Or it’s something entirely different. “High blood pressure, obesity, gastrointestinal diseases, and anxiety leading to depression are some of the common lifestyle disorders stemming from the workplace today,” says Zumba education specialist, Sucheta Pal. “Having been in the corporate world, and on the receiving end of the stressful 9 to 5 cycle, I ended up with doctors diagnosing me with irritable bowel syndrome,” she recalls, adding that Zumba helped her “change my abused body system for the better.”

‘Zumba’ is said to get its name from the Latin word Rumba, which means ‘a party’. It is often referred to as a ‘happy coincidence’ by Alberto Perez, better known as Beto, who discovered this amalgamated dance form during his stint as an aerobics instructor. Before a certain dance class, when he couldn't find his usual music CD, Beto pulled out a Latin music to work with.Just like an aerobics class, Zumba alternates between high and medium intensity moves, where difficult steps are interspersed with slow ones to increase the heart rate. For those who sit behind a desk for more than eight hours, this builds towards an inviting, but fierce cardio workout. With its hip swishes, thrusts and bends, Zumba focuses on the midsection to strengthen the core. The jumps and lunges also work toward toning of the glutes, thigh and leg muscles. However, arm muscles are rarely worked on since the dance moves do not readily employ the use of weights.

The workout also claims to make a person lose up to 800 calories per class. A word of caution though: the cleverly worded marketing gimmicks aren’t as pretty as they look, and experts will ask you to proceed with caution.
“First off, you cannot ask someone to run if they haven't started walking yet,” begins Dr Nilesh Makwana, physiotherapist from Mumbai, who believes Zumba uses intense cardio to sell a workout. “It is a trendy way of losing weight, but people who rarely or almost never exercise will not be able to keep up as they have no basic strength. The music and enjoyment often sidelines their injuries and the pain starts only after a day,” Makwana warns. His patients, he says, often complain of either knee or back pain after a class, which is caused by repetitive squats, lunges, sudden jumps, forward and back bending or twisting exercises. In his expertise, he has found that any form of exercise is good for energising people and doesn’t necessarily have to be as intense. In fact a brisk walk would do just fine. “Gym activities like squats, lunges to build muscle capacity is what’s needed rather than Zumba, which is more muscle-toning.”

For an energising workout, Zumba probably fits the part, but one must be wary of muscle and joint pain after all the jerks and thrusts that this fitness routine entails.

1 If you sit behind a desk for long hours, it can lead to serious sedentary lifestyle problems. Zumba is one way you can change that.
2 The high-intensity workout tends to put the focus on the mid-section of the body in order to strengthen the core muscles.
3 The fitness routine, interspersed with jumps and lunges, also works toward toning glutes, thigh and leg muscles. ( l