The Ins-and-Outs (Ups-and-Downs and Side-to-Side!) of Zumba

Last summer when we shared our round up of Dance Workouts: Get Fit While Getting Your Groove On it’s no surprise we kicked it off with Zumba. The dance workout whose mantra is to “party yourself into shape” is an upbeat, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired dance workout that gained some serious momentum over the last few years and shows no signs of slowing down! We wanted to dive in deeper to this super fun workout so we caught up with Maria David, certified Zumba and Aqua Zumba instructor at The Oaks at Ojai for a little Q&A!

What is Zumba…?

“Zumba fitness is an aerobic dance party like no other fitness class set to Latin and World rhythms. Zumba is fun, easy and makes an hour of sweat feel like five minutes.  There is freedom in a dance party to move at your level of fitness with or without impact.  One student said you sweat figuring out how to do the steps, then you sweat when you can apply yourself to those steps.”

What are some of the physical and psychological benefits…?

“The dance steps used in Zumba work the core muscles in a very sneaky way. All muscles of the body are included in a typical Zumba party including the brain.  During a typical class you might see anything from arm toning to squats blended in with the choreography, [which is what is exercising your brain].  Exercise in any atmosphere releases feel good endorphins, especially in Zumba.”

Who is Zumba good for?

“EVERYONE! There is freedom in the program to express yourself allowing modification to your fitness level and limitations.  There are various programs to address the needs of any student wanting to try Zumba.  Zumbatomic geared toward young students, Aquazumba offering the resistance of water and ease on body joints, Zumba Gold addressing the needs of the more mature adult, and Zumba toning done with light hand weights for focused toning results.  I have students from 17 to 91 in my classes, both male and female.  Always have students check with physician before starting a new program.  Keep in mind there is a lot of twisting and lateral movement in the traditional class which may be difficult for students with certain Knee injuries.”

What do you love most about teaching Zumba?

Seeing students have fun, find themselves moving in ways they never imagined, laughing while “working”, doing something they can stick with, and best of all seeing results and seeing a change in their overall attitude.  I get feedback from students going through horrible stuff at home in their lives, and this is their one release in their day  it is amazing to see them able to smile in the face of adversity and have just a little time of mental vacation.

What is your favorite music to teach to?

It’s all great!  I like some more than others! Reggaeton has fabulous beats that are super fun to dance to.  I find all the music even though I don’t always know what the lyrics are about make me feel happy.  I see students dancing into class when they just hear the intoxicating beats.

Top Ten Reasons to Try Zumba:

  1. It’s fun! Music, dancing – what’s not to love?
  2. It’s a high-energy group workout – Hello new workout buddies!
  3. Offered in so many locations – near you and whenever you’re away
  4. Helps with coordination – thanks to teaching lively choreography
  5. Speaking of choreography, dancing keeps us moving and keeps us happy!
  6. It’s great for all fitness levels – whether you’re just starting out or go to the gym all the time
  7. It’s an upbeat way to switch up your workout routine
  8. Burns lots of calories in just one class
  9. It works out your entire body
  10. Did we mention it’s fun? Go try a Zumba class today!


Have you ever tried to bust a move in Zumba class? Let us know!

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