Diabetes ABCs

Diabetes ABCs: Z

By Sandy O’Keefe
Program Manager, Chronic Disease Education


Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness program featuring exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beats. Before participants know it, they’re getting fit and their energy levels are soaring!  It’s easy to do, effective and totally exhilarating, often building a deep-rooted community among returning students. Zumba is geared to people of all fitness levels. Dance moves are shown with modifications so students can workout at their current skill and ability level.  According to www.Zumba.com, over 14 million people of all shapes, sizes and ages take weekly Zumba fitness classes all over the world. Try a class today!


Winter Fitness Idea: Zumba

By Sandra O’Keefe
Administrative Manager, Diabetes Education/Support Programs

Now that the weather is turning colder, it’s often a challenge to find the motivation to exercise and options are limited. Who wants to walk outside when the wind brings tears to your eyes and you worry about slipping on the ice? Well if you like to dance, a very fun alternative to try instead is Zumba Fitness® (“Zumba”)!  Zumba is a Latin-inspired fitness program where you dance to energizing rhythms and easy-to-follow moves that will get your heart pumping and leave you smiling.

I first tried a Zumba class in the summer of 2009. I was hesitant at first, but I loved Latin dancing and  I grew up with Brazilian neighbors who first taught me some dance steps. Before I went to the class at my gym, I brushed up on my dancing by searching online for the terms “Meringue” and “Salsa”:  two of the many steps used in the program.

The Zumba Instructor was simply outstanding. She had me hooked from the first class. We danced and partied the entire time and at the end of the class I was drenched with sweat, but smiling. This was perhaps the best workout I had ever had and not only did I feel great, I had a blast doing it! From that point on, I’ve continued to attend classes; the more I went, the better I got at the steps.  Another perk was that I could wear my regular workout clothes and sneakers—no need to buy any special extra equipment or shoes to do it!

I’m now a Certified Zumba Instructor and teach the program at my local community center.  I love it when students tell me that they are hooked, it’s like reliving my experience all over again! One of my favorite testimonials from a woman in my class is:

“After the first class I said to my husband, I am never going to be able to do this {Zumba}! But the next morning I woke up feeling great, wanting to practice the dance steps. I kept thinking about the songs and the steps. I went to the next class and now just can’t get enough! I tell all my friends to try it!”

There are so many amazing Latin songs to dance to that it never gets old or dull. I dance to Zumba all year and while I do try other exercises occasionally, I always come back to Zumba. It’s exciting, convenient and helps me maintain my weight and blood pressure. Even though I teach classes, I also take them from other instructors so I can learn from them and, more importantly, let loose and dance!

There are many affordable classes where you don’t need to be a member of a gym to participate. For class information, visit www.Zumba.com.