I've been on a quest to find the ideal exercise program for some time now. It has been a while, but I do remember what it feels like to be in shape and enjoy a good workout. I want that feeling back in my life. Since my hip surgery 3 years ago, I've tried tai chi, pilates, and yoga, but none of them really satisfied me.
And then I tried Zumba! Zumba is a Latin-inspired, dance fitness program that combines upbeat music with moves from salsa, merengue, samba, cha cha, hip hop and even belly dancing. No matter how old you are or what shape you are in, you can do this. Honestly, if I can do it, you can, too. There are three of us in my class who are over the age of 60 and we have so much FUN!
Zumba fits my definition of the ideal workout. It challenges me, but isn't so demanding that I get discouraged or hurt myself. It builds core strength and helps improve my balance. It is aerobic exercise so I get a pleasant endorphin glow that lasts for hours afterward. It opens up my aging joints and gives me more flexibility. I am famously uncoordinated and Zumba helps me connect my body to my brain. It is a mental exercise, as well, because it involves learning a new skill and remembering dance steps.
Zumba is affordable, too. In Seattle, classes are offered at most community centers and YMCA facilities and fees range from around $7 - $12 per class. If you live in an area where classes are not available, you can get Zumba dvds from Amazon (see link above). Zumba is also available for Wii and XBox systems.
Here's a sample video to give you an idea of a few dance steps. There are dozens more to watch on YouTube. Enjoy!