Zumba: From Secondary Physical Education Classes to Adulthood Workouts: Staying Up to Date with the Growing Trends of Physical Activity in and out of the Schools

By Benham, Lindsey; Hall, Amber et al. | Strategies: A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators, September-October 2013 | Go to article overview

Zumba: From Secondary Physical Education Classes to Adulthood Workouts: Staying Up to Date with the Growing Trends of Physical Activity in and out of the Schools


Benham, Lindsey, Hall, Amber, Barney, David, Strategies: A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators


The bell rings signaling the end of, class and 27 sweaty high school students begin to grumble. Why does class have to be over? complains one student. I wish I could have this class every day," says another student. "Look at how many calories I burned during class today!" exclaims a third student. What could this class be that has a bunch of sweaty students upset because class is over? The answer is Zumba[R].

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This article discusses the background of Zumba, the need for it as a result of its growing popularity, the national standards it supports, and the necessary steps that need to be taken to properly implement Zumba in physical education programs.

Background of Zumba

Zumba was created by a man named Alberto "Beto" Perez. He is an aerobics instructor from Cali, Colombia, and his creation of Zumba was by happenstance. One day, upon arriving to teach one of his aerobics classes, he realized that he had left his traditional aerobics music at home. Because Beto was trained in other styles of dance, he decided to improvise and use some of his favorite Latin music tapes he had in his backpack. Thus, he taught his first Zumba class. In 2000, Beto moved to the United States to pursue the American dream, and a year later, his dream came true when he met Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion, who joined him in creating the global Zumba Fitness company. Now, Zumba is a Latin-inspired, dance-fitness program that incorporates Latin and international music and dance movements, creating a dynamic, exciting, exhilarating, and effective fitness system (Zumba Fitness, 2010).

This program is designed around four basic international dances: salsa, merengue, cumbia, and reggaeton. But it also adds variety with other international dance styles including cha cha, swing, mambo, mapale, calypso and more (Zumba Fitness, 2010). This unique style of music and dancing gives dancers a new realm in which they can experience moving their body. Zumba is designed to integrate some of the basic principles of aerobic, interval, and resistance training to maximize caloric output, cardiovascular benefits, and total-body toning (Zumba Fitness, 2010). The catchy and inviting slogan found on the web site for Zumba is "Ditch the Workout, Join the Party" (http://www.zumba.com). This slogan seems fitting as Zumba is growing in popularity. In fact, Zumba is becoming so widely popular that there are more than 110,000 different locations and more than 125 countries you can visit to experience it for yourself (Zumba Fitness, n.d.). It is even starting to make its way into high schools as a physical education elective.

The Need and National Support for Zumba

In one local high school, a teacher began teaching Zumba as part of an aerobics class and even used it as a warm-up for other classes. The students loved it so much that they suggested the teacher form a class for the following school year that would be solely a Zumba class. The teacher decided to give it a try by seeing how many students would sign up for Zumba if it was offered. A total of 580 students signed up for it compared with 300 who signed up for cross-fit, 80 for kickboxing, and 50 for aerobics. And if physical educators can find a physical activity that students are excited about, it would be wise to do all they can to become qualified to teach that physical activity. That being said, it has been observed that when current physical educators see a change in the direction of preferred physical activities, guest instructors are often brought in to teach that specific activity because the education-certified teacher is not qualified. This is disheartening, as it demonstrates that physical educators are often not as well equipped to teach as they should be (Zumba Fitness, 2010).

From the example given of one high school's growing demand for Zumba as part of secondary education physical activity classes, it can be surmised that there is a need for current and future physical educators to become trained and certified in a variety of aerobic activities, not just in teaching the usual sport units like volleyball, basketball, soccer, or badminton. …

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