Fit & Fab: Do You Zumba? By Guest Blogger

zumba buttTrying to get fit in your 30's and beyond is a totally different feat than it was in your teens and 20's. You have to actively work at scheduling time to devote to your fitness regimen. Grown and sexy often comes with bills, responsibilities and a never ending to do list. Unfortunately, me time tends to get put on the back burner. That means in order to be fit and fabulous, you also have to find a routine that provides maximum impact and is enough fun that you won't use your to do list as a reason not to go.

For me that something fun was the Zumba class that my sister found at the local YMCA. It has since changed locations but the smiles, like the beads of sweat have never subsided. Zumba is an aerobic fitness program that features movements inspired by dance. Some salsa, un poquito de bachata, some soca (get something and wave!), a little hip hop, translation: never a dull moment!

A February 2011 article by the Mayo Clinic, "Aerobic Exercise: Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical" states that among other things aerobic exercise:

1. helps you breathe faster and more deeply

2. increases your stamina

3. reduces a variety of health risks

4. wards off minor viral illnesses like colds and the flu

5. and keeps your arteries clear.

Spending an hour dancing, punching & jumping the pounds away in a zumba class can earn you losses of anywhere from 800-1200 calories! Yes, that's more than enough to burn off the juicy turkey cheeseburger deluxe you savored on your lunch break or the oooey gooey chocolate chip cookies you just couldn't pass up.

All you need to "start making that fat cry" as my enthusiastic instructor Rufus Gibson constantly reminds us, is some rhythm and the ability to count to 4. We got this!Rufus shared with me that Zumba has:zumba w chairs

1. dance moves to isolate calves, abdominal, hamstrings, glutes, biceps and triceps

2. high impact cardio routines

3. as well as some basic yoga and Pilates moves for stretching and toning during the warm up and cool down

As the inches and pounds start to melt away, you discover definition in muscles you didn't even know you were working as your energy level continues to grow by leaps and bounds.  Before you know it, your once content to relax body literally can't keep still. I've even grown to the point where I've taken up jogging.  This coming from a former tomboy who hadn't run since playing tag in elementary school. This stuff is serious! And just when you think you've got it all under control along, comes Zumba Sentao aka zumba with chairs! All about toning and strengthening your core with the chair as your partner. You wanna talk about feeling the burn? Try doing bicycle and scissor moves with your legs while balancing your body on the edge of a chair! Yeah like that!

With music bumping, a sisterly camaraderie formed between all of the class regulars and an instructor who is as much trainer as motivational speaker, this workout can't be beat! Except of course by the Zumba master class with an hour & a half of multiple instructors taking turns leading the class with varying levels of intensity & endurance. Definitely a clothes drenching, rewarding experience! Let's not forget the boost in endorphins (feel good hormones) that we get every time we exert physical energy. The Mayo Clinic reports aerobic exercise can ease symptoms of depression, reduce tension and anxiety and promote relaxation. Feel great, lose weight and have fun? What are you waiting for? Let's Zumba!

Guest Blogger: ©2013 Shavon C. Evelyn

*Photo Credit *www.ignitedanceandyoga.com ; www.sheknows.com