I vowed that when my little guy turned one, despite having 3 other kids who keep me busy, I would find a way to get back into the gym. Although I am well aware of the importance of maintaining consistent exercise, I often struggle to find a workout routine that I enjoy enough to stick with it. After hearing so much hype about the Zumba fitness craze, I decided to give it a try. After just one class, I was hooked.
Zumba is a dance-type aerobic workout. It uses Latin-inspired and International music and simple dance moves to create an easy-to-follow dance routine suitable for all fitness levels. Zumba combines interval training, resistance training and alternating slow and fast dance rhythms.
Unlike some other cardio dance routines that burn an average of 400-600 calories per hour, one hour of Zumba can burn up to 1200 calories. There is significant evidence that suggests that Zumba type workouts that are done at a moderate intensity level can improve cardiopulmonary endurance, boost metabolism, lower cholesterol levels and decrease blood pressure. While many other cardio dance classes focus primarily on cardiovascular activity, Zumba works all of the major muscle groups in the body.
According to Kiril Poibrenski, certified Zumba instructor at The Fitness Center at Birkdale in Huntersville, NC, "Zumba is a high energy routine that uses every single muscle in your body. Within one hour we do between 12 and 16 songs, each with their own routine, and each routine works a different muscle". Poibrenski, who moved to the United States from Bulgaria in 1998, has always had a passion for dance and has been teaching Zumba classes for 2 years. When asked why he chose Zumba over other cardio-dance routines, Poibrenski said "It doesn't even feel like exercise. The people who come to Zumba are having so much fun that time flies and they never even look at the clock. You get to put in what you want and work at your own level. And of course the Latin-inspired music is a lot of fun". New moves and different music is introduced often so participants are never bored. As a certified instructor, Poibrenski receives new music once per month and new dance moves every two months from Zumba's official Zin Club instructors. However, he admits that although these are excellent resources, he prefers to create his own routines. I asked Poibrenski what advice he has for those considering giving Zumba a try. His response was "It is very important to drink plenty of water before and during the workout to prevent dehydration. And always warm-up and stretch first". Most importantly, he states "Just come along and have fun, that's all that matters".
Poibrenski is currently teaching Zumba classes at The Fitness Center at Birkdale in Huntersville every Wednesday at 8:30 am, every other Wednesday at 6:00 pm and every Saturday at 10:30 am. He is hoping to add more Zumba classes, as well as a "Zumba for Couples" class to his current schedule.
On Saturday, April 28, Poibrenski will be taking part in a charity Zumba event. The Fitness Center at Birkdale will be hosting "Exercise for a Cure" from 9:30-11:00 am. This Zumba event is a fundraiser for Operation Oligocure, a non-profit organization founded by Nancy Perri to raise awareness and funding for research and clinical trials for the rare brain tumor, Oligodendroglioma. Perri's husband, James Perri, is a two time survivor of this rare condition. The event is free for members. Non-members can participate with a minimum $10 donation. The Zumba class will be held outdoors, where there will be a DJ, food and fun for the family. 100% of the proceeds from this event will go to Operation Oligocure. So whether you're a first-time participant or a passionate Zumba enthusiast, come down to the Fitness Center at Birkdale on Saturday and dance your way to a cure for this rare disease.