Cumberland Times-News

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January 24, 2011

‘Exercise in disguise,’ Zumba really catching on

Latin-based dance fitness routine builds endurance with fun factor

— CUMBERLAND — “Find fitness with fun dancing. It is fun and makes you forget about the dreaded exercise,” said dancer/choreographer Paula Abdul.

That is exactly what the aim of Zumba is — to combine fitness with fun dancing.

“It is exercise in disguise,” said Tina Miller, owner and Zumba instructor at the Body Factory in the Bel Air Plaza. Zumba is an upbeat, enthusiastic Latin-based dance fitness that helps to enhance cardio and en-durance, ac-cording to Kim Shrock, who has her Zumba license certification and tea-ches hour-long classes at the Body Factory, Allegany College of Maryland, and Energy Health and Fitness.

“I love doing Zumba and I like to share it with others. The hour goes by so fast and you don’t even realize your doing a workout,” said Shrock.

“One of the benefits of Zumba is that it doesn’t feel like exercise and it isn’t quite as intimidating. For females it focuses on one of the common problem areas — the abdominal core and hips. Zumba works to whittle away these areas,” added Miller.

Doing a Zumba workout burns anywhere from 800 to 1,000 calories, according to Miller.

Shrock starts out each class with a warmup, followed by high-energy salsa, merengue-style dancing complete with lunges, clapping, shoulder-shaking and sashaying moves. Shrock then has her class check their heart rates and notes that it should be in the 50 to 75 percent range.

“If it is too high, modify your moves, stay flat-footed instead of dancing on the balls of your feet,” said Shrock.

Shrock then gives her class a chance to mellow out by slowing the moves and the music down. However, the break is short-lived only to be followed by a dance to the song “We Will Rock You.” Shrock ends the session with a cool-down workout complete with yoga-esque moves done to Middle Eastern music.  

“Right now we are starting off slow. I use a lot of Cumbia steps for breaks. In the last class there is going to be no breaks, we are going to do up to 12 songs,” said Shrock.

“We choose Zumba because it’s such a worldwide brand plus they back up the program with advertising and it helps instructors by providing them with the choreography and music they need for their class,” said Miller. “People who are in the class say how much fun they are having. They get caught up in the music and the energy in the room and it feels like just five minutes has passed by,” said Miller.

”I decided to take Zumba fitness class because they utilize fun dance moves to keep you active. I like the fact that hour went by so fast,” said Mallory Smith, who attends the Zumba class at ACM.

Since its inception in 2001, Zumba Fitness has grown to become the world’s largest and most successful dance-fitness program with more than 10 million people of all shapes, sizes and ages taking weekly Zumba classes in 90,000 locations across more than 110 countries, according to the Zumba Fitness website.

Alberto “Beto” Perez, an aerobics instructor from California, created the dance style accidently when he forgot to bring his aerobic CD to class. In 2001, Beto brought his dance style to Miami, where he was introduced to entrepreneurs Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion, which led to creating Zumba Fitness and a trademark for the word Zumba. By 2005, Zumba Fitness spawned a full-fledged Zumba Academy™ to license Zumba instructors.

The word Zumba is derived from the Colombian slang word meaning to buzz like a bee or move fast.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at

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