Celebrities Join the Zumba Dance Craze

Zumba is a massive dance craze that has everyone going insane. With the 2014 Zumba Convention wrapped up as of Sunday and with over 10K people from around the world convening in one place to Zumba, there’s no doubt this craze is on top.

Zumba combines the essence of dance and latin rhythms to create a fitness environment where participants can burn calories, tone and feel great without the mindset of a workout.

Certified Zumba instructor Daffnee Cohen attended the 4 day event held in Orlando FL:

“The convention was a mix of people from all over the world, all sizes all styles coming together in a really positive environment. It’s about fun fitness and it works for so many people. It was tiring to say the least, but an overall great event that seems to grow each year in popularity.”

A number of celebrities are big Zumba fans:

Jennifer Lopez, no stranger to dancing, recommends Zumba as a way for women to take care of themselves:

“You’ve gotta do things that make you happy. As women, we tend to give away a lot. We take care of a lot of people, and we can’t forget to take care of ourselves. If that means once a week you’re going to go off without the kids or without anybody and just go shoe shopping — well, that’s me, because I love shoes — or get a facial even if your sister thinks that’s selfish, or join a Zumba class, or take a painting class, or whatever, you’ve just got to do it. It’s just two hours a week, for heaven’s sake.”

Although Madonna uses several different styles of exercise to keep fit, she enjoys Zumba enough that she offers Zumba classes at all of the franchises of her Hard Candy gyms worldwide.

American Idol winner Jordin Sparks credits some of her 30 pound weight loss to Zumba. She is frequently seen taking Zumba classes with her mother. As she told US Weekly:

“Something just clicked with me, and instead of sitting around talking about it I said, ‘I’m going to go do Zumba. It’s so much fun”.

Vivica A. Fox was one of Zumba’s first fans, taking classes even before the brand hit became a gym staple or was adopted for Wii.  “Zumba is perfect for my lifestyle. You’re working out, and you almost feel like you’re not working out”. She’s been featured in ads for the company.

Giuliana Rancic is another Zumba fan. She first learned about it four years ago while doing an assignment for E!

“I went to my first class with my coworker Jason Kennedy. I thought, “This is so much fun. I can’t believe they call it a workout!” I couldn’t wait to go back.”

Zumba originated in 1986 in Colombia as a fortuitous accident. Aerobics instructor  Alberto “Beto” Perez forgot his usual workout music. So her brought in some dance tapes he had in his car. He made up an exercise routine with the Latin merengue, salsa, cumbia and samba  music, and the class loved it. Perez moved to Miami in 1999, and along with friends Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion, decided to sell video tapes and produce infomercials to promote their classes. Then a funny thing happened. People from around the world contacted them, saying they wanted to teach a Zumba class. In 2005, they set up an educational division, wrote a training manual, and began offering Zumba workshops to those interested in teaching.

It is estimated that there are currently over 14 million participants in more than 150 countries.

Assuming one is healthy enough to do exercise, Zumba can be done by any age group. The movements can be adapted to accommodate various fitness levels and can be modified to become low-impact. Little equipment is required- primarily a good pair of dance shoes or cross-trainers.

What are the potential benefits of Zumba?

Zumba, like any form of physical activity can have the following benefits:

Physical Activity Strengthens Your Heart and Improves Lung Function

When done regularly, moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity strengthens your heart muscle. This improves your heart’s ability to pump blood to your lungs and throughout your body. As a result, more blood flows to your muscles, and oxygen levels in your blood rise.

Capillaries, your body’s tiny blood vessels, also widen. This allows them to deliver more oxygen to your body and carry away waste products.

Physical Activity Reduces Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors

When done regularly, moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity can lower your risk for CHD. CHD is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque  builds up inside your coronary arteries. These arteries supply your heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood.

Plaque narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to your heart muscle. Eventually, an area of plaque can rupture (break open). This causes a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque.

If the clot becomes large enough, it can mostly or completely block blood flow through a coronary artery. Blocked blood flow to the heart muscle causes a heart attack.

Certain traits, conditions, or habits may raise your risk for CHD. Physical activity can help control some of these risk factors because it:

  • Can lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood.
  • Can raise HDL cholesterol levels. HDL sometimes is called “good” cholesterol.
  • Helps your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels, which lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduces levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in your body. This protein is a sign of inflammation. High levels of CRP may suggest an increased risk for CHD.
  • Helps reduce overweight and obesity when combined with a reduced-calorie diet. Physical activity also helps you maintain a healthy weight over time once you have lost weight.
  • May help you quit smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor for CHD.

Inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop CHD as people who are physically active. Studies suggest that inactivity is a major risk factor for CHD, just like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.

Physical Activity Reduces Heart Attack Risk

For people who have CHD, aerobic activity done regularly helps the heart work better. It also may reduce the risk of a second heart attack in people who already have had heart attacks.

Physical Activity Has Benefits for Your Brain

It reverses the detrimental effects of stress.
It lifts depression.
It improves learning
It builds self-esteem and improves body image.
It leaves you feeling happy.
It keeps the brain fit.
It may keep Alzheimer’s at bay.

Other benefits of physical activity

Physical activity also helps maintain bone density and improves balance and muscle tone. Both of these make you less prone to accidents and fractures.

Zumba’s motto is: Ditch the Workout. Join the Party.

If you want to locate a Zumba class near you, you can go to their website.





Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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