Happy Two Year Anniversary to my Life (Joan Minnery)

The Weigh I see it (Joan Minnery)

Unless you’ve been isolated in the desert, living in a cave, or touring the remote areas of the jungle; there is no doubt someone has mentioned the word ZUMBA. Chances are, if you’re from Brantford, someone you know is taking a class, acting in very peculiar ways, and sporting some pretty funky clothing looking like a Skittle.

Brantford most assuredly has the Zumba bug with 100s of classes being taught daily, nightly, and weekly by a myriad of Certified Zumba Fitness Instructors at dance studios, gyms, fitness centres, church halls, and community centres.  Zumba can be found basically anywhere a group of people want to get together with a certified instructor for an hour of shaking, shimmying, hooting, hollering, dancing, acting silly, and getting healthy while having the time of their lives.  It’s a party; it’s exercise in disguise.

So what is Zumba?  For lack of a better description, it’s dancercise done to Latin Music; Aerobics with Latino spicy tunes and dance moves.  For a more accurate description, it is a fitness program primarily using Latin Dance moves, using the principles of resistance training and fitness interval training to increase caloric output and all over body toning.  Both slow and fast rhythms are involved to add a variety to the classes and to beat the boredom while increasing agility and muscular involvement. The dance moves are based on a variety of Latin styles including meringue, pop, reggaeton, cumbia, mambo, salsa, flamenco, rumba, calypso, and more. By combining easy dance steps and great music into a fitness program and labeling it a party, it has been able to entice those who may have had a negative association with exercise and rekindle the love of fitness in everyone.  The silly clothes, the funky rhythms, the loud music, the camaraderie, and the overall party-like atmosphere have allowed non-believers to re-frame their attitude about fitness and exercise.

Zumba has caught on like a raging wildfire and it is making a huge difference in the lives of many who would not have been turned onto fitness if it weren’t for the unique formula of having fun while exercising.  Here’s what some Brantfordians are saying about Zumba:

Lorraine Good: Zumba, for me, is one of the reasons I am exercising. I have tried going to the gym a number of times but never felt it was right for me. When Zumba came into my life I began to enjoy exercising. Zumba classes are fun and full of energy. There is no right or wrong way to move. When new people come they are welcomed and no one cares if you are going the wrong way. Anyone can do it – young or old.

Melanie Crawford: Zumba is my escape from the negative self-image being overweight has caused, my therapy for times I need to vent, my reward for giving myself freely to everyone around me, and finally, my example to the people I love to pursue even your most difficult goals. Zumba is my life-changer.

Randi-Lynn Jancik: Zumba is exercise in disguise! How true this statement really is. When I first started Zumba, I completely disliked it. Now it’s like a second life. It’s my time away from everything else in this world. It’s time to enjoy and work hard at something. That something is me! I get to smile, laugh, and have a great time with a gym full of people loving and enjoying the same things. Man, woman, & child alike. Smiles and sweat go a long way and it’s become a little bit of a family for us. Zumba’s definitely a great craze sweeping the nation and does great things for everyone.

Diane Torok:  Zumba, for me, is my HAPPY place, I don’t feel stressed out when I’m there. When I first started Zumba I was so nervous to go alone that I brought my son with me. Then once I started going more often I didn’t care that I was going by myself. I never thought in a million years I would have done it in front of a crowd. So Zumba has also made me more confident with myself. All the folks that do Zumba have a unique glow about them that makes them different from people who don’t do it. It makes you want to be around all of them with that intoxicating motivation all the time.

Bev Hilliker: Zumba has changed a lot of things about me and for me – less pain, less weight, more pride in me and in my bearing. It’s still hard on me, but I’m working on that.  My granddaughter said she is VERY PROUD OF ME!!!

Tara Sauciukas:  Zumba has become a new beginning to a dream that died in 2001, when I was diagnosed with MS. Walking through those doors to my first Zumba class was the beginning of a life that I did not think existed anymore for me. As time went on, I fell in love with the energy, the stories, and the people around me. A small spark ignited into a massive flame. Zumba set a fire in me. The love I found there is a fire that is unquenchable.

Sallyann Harris I hear the word Zumba and I instantly get excited!! I walked into my very first ever Zumba class back in January of this year. I had no clue at all what I was getting myself into. Although I had no idea what I was doing, I felt amazingly comfortable and was even able to laugh at myself as I went the wrong way or couldn’t quite get the steps. Now, I am addicted! Having a dance background, I have always missed that piece in my life that I always yearned for. Zumba has definitely filled this void. It’s so crazy, when I hear one of the songs come on when I am out shopping for example, I can barely contain myself and break out in a salsa, literally! I have found a passion that fills my heart and very soul. I feel ALIVE! It’s a fantastic feeling to go to a class that you don’t have to talk yourself into going to. It’s a great feeling to have a love for something and to share the same passion with like-minded people. I have made some incredible friendships; the health benefits have been endless!

Tracey Andruski: For me, Zumba has helped me with personal disabilities and self-esteem issues! I have made beautiful friendships and a family of friends.  Through my instructor’s guidance I have watched her walk many people to the door of their own personal journey with confidence, dedication, support, exercise, and helpful information to help them reach their goals and succeed.

If you’ve never tried Zumba before, do yourself, your heart, your brain, your body and your smile a favour and reward yourself with one of the best hours you will ever spend in the company of strangers who will instantly become your friends over a WOO HOO and an OLE!

Good Luck.  Happy Fitness.  And Remember, “Put Down The Fork & Get Moving”

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