Dance Your Way to Fitness with Zumba

By Anne Pyle and LeAura Alderson

The Total Workout for All Fitness Levels

“Buzz like a bee and move fast.” That’s the definition of Zumba in Spanish.

The evidence is in on the many health benefits of Zumba according to the American Council on Exercise. Their research shows that Zumba provides a  high energy workout regardless of participants’ fitness levels.

With cardio, core strengthening and flexibility exercises Zumba works the whole body. Zumba’s all the fun of a dance class but with great fitness outcomes, and you don’t have to know how to plié.


Burn Calories (And Fat!)

shutterstock_265829339Some say Zumba burns 1,000 calories per hour, however we haven’t seen research to support that. We found this fantastic article on with the scoop on dance exercises and calories burned.

How many calories does Zumba really burn? Women in an average weight range, say roughly 120-170 for estimation purposes, are going to burn between 350 and 650 calories in an hour of Zumba, if they go at full intensity through the entire class. The exact expenditure during a class depends on a number of different variables, including exact weight, muscle content, fitness level and more.

Another study by researchers from the University of WisconsinLa Crosse’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science, found that participating in a single Zumba fitness class burned an average of 369 calories or about 9.5 kcal per minute, which definitely qualifies as a significant cardiovascular exercise workout to elevate heart rate and burn calories.

Study on Zumba, heart rate and calories burned.

The average HR was 154 beats per minute (bpm), which is roughly 80 percent of the average predicted HRmax for the subjects (Figure 1). Accepted fitness industry guidelines suggest exercising in the range of 64 percent to 94 percent of HRmax to improve cardio endurance, so Zumba meets those requirements.


Build Endurance

Music played during a Zumba class is relatively fast paced, moving to the beat can help build your endurance after just a few workouts.


Improve Cardiovascular Fitness

Zumba meets the criteria for recommended exercise intensity, making it an efficient workout for increasing aerobic capacity, a measure of cardiovascular fitness.


Improve Blood Pressure

Studies show that a Zumba fitness program brings a decrease in blood pressure and significant improvements in body weight.


It’s Adaptable for Any Fitness Level

You’re moving on your own, to the beat of the music — it’s a workout that everyone can do at their own intensity level! Zumba is still clearly popular as it was voted the Fitness Company of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 by Magazine.

So, who’s ready to dance? Try a Zumba class at your local gym today.



American Council on Exercise

Health Care News Journal

Study on Zumba, heart rate and calories burned