Zumba, one of the hottest group fitness classes of 2012, uses Latin dance moves to burn off the calories as you burn up the floor. But if it's so fun and such a great workout, why don't more people try it? "I can't dance!" is the most common barrier to class entry. Nobody wants to be the only "flail-er" in the room. But you don't have to be a dance pro—or even to have danced before at all—to enjoy this fun class.
Here, two readers share how they found their "Latin hips" and got a great sweat, proving that you don't have to be a dancer to fall in love with Zumba.
"I’ve always loved dancing but I'm horrible at it!" says Cassie Simonton, a mom of three. "I thought Zumba classes might help me because I would have someone teaching me how to dance and yet everyone would be concentrating on the teacher and be too busy to notice me and my awkwardness!" She adds, "I was excited to try it out but wouldn't dare go by myself! I had to have a friend to laugh with me."
Enter Anna Raway, a mom of three and Simonton's best friend. "I did ballet as a kid but I've never considered myself a dancer. I was nervous to try Zumba because my moves were more Dancing in the Dark than Dancing With the Stars. I am also not a size 6, and seeing all of the skinny girls who really knew what they're doing was very intimidating."
Despite their fears, the friends quickly got hooked. "My favorite part is when I actually master a dance step," Simonton says. "Now, by the end of the song I usually have it. I keep going because who doesn't love a good dance party? And you can't help but dance with the music they play. It's just a bonus that it's such great exercise!"
Raway agrees, "I knew that traditional exercise would not be something that would hold my attention, so I wanted to try an exercise that doesn't feel exercise-y. Zumba is so fun! I shake it for an hour to awesome tunes and I call it exercise. I love dancing (even if I look ridiculous!) to upbeat music!"
So, how do the two women who were sure they couldn't dance feel about their moves? "I'm a wannabe dancer," answers Simonton. "But Zumba lets me feel like Beyonce for an hour and I love it."
"We've been known to whip out moves from Zumba on the dance floor at the club too," Raway adds with a grin. "Super sexy!"