Walking into the group fitness classroom for a Zumba class, the room is comparable to a dance party setting with loud, upbeat music blaring from either side of the room. Positive vibes radiate from Zumba instructor Ernesto Ponce, as he greets each individual with a smile.
The class begins with a fast-paced warm-up, which immediately gets the blood pumping. Ponce leads two warm-up dances, and takes the time to motivate his students while ensuring maximum comfort.
“Zumba is a lot of cardio,” Ponce says. “it’s just dancing, it really gets your heart rate up.”
As the class progresses, the class does a variety of moves and motions that corresponds to the beat of the music. The environment has a humorous balance of panting and singing along to familiar tunes. After an hour of intense work, Ponce instructs a cool down and congratulates the group for a productive class.
One of the perks entailed with attending Ohio University are the free group fitness classes, Zumba being one of many. Ponce teaches variations of traditional Zumba: Zumba Express, Strong by Zumba, and Zumba Toning. Each workout is designed to target a different part of the body, and challenges it in unique ways.
“Zumba Toning is a class where we use one to three pound weights to define muscle rather than build it,” Ponce says. “I also teach another class called Strong by Zumba where we build muscle.”
Zumba Express is another class taught by Ponce, this class takes the traditional Zumba class and packs it into a 45 minute workout. The Zumba Express class offers the same style workout but in a time slot suited for busy people.
“Zumba is an hour long and you don’t even realize you are working out,” Ponce says.“It burns over 700 calories a class which is almost double what you do running for an hour.”
Ponce guarantees an excellent workout that is totally recommendable for those looking to stay active, with dancing that soon becomes addictive.
Kelsey Sines, a sophomore studying political science, had never attended a group fitness class prior to Zumba Toning.
“I would totally recommend this class to anyone looking for a good workout. It was a lot of work, so come prepared for that,” Sines says. “We used 1-3 pound weights throughout the workout, and you could definitely feel it by the end.”
Dancing to upbeat music with traditional latin dance movement is a unique way to burn calories and tone muscle. The benefits of Zumba appear to be long lasting through muscle conditioning, interval and resistance training, and body-sculpting activities.
“I woke up the next morning and could definitely feel what parts of my body had been worked,” Sines says. “My arms were insanely sore, but it was a good type of sore. I want to continue going and see how I can improve.”
If you would like to attend a Zumba class throughout the week, visit the group fitness section of the Ohio University Ping webpage.