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Seniors Get Fit and Have Fun With Zumba

written by: CatNorth • edited by: lrohner • updated: 7/15/2011

What is Zumba, and how can it benefit seniors? Get the answer to this question and learn about different workout routines you can participate in to help you stay healthy. Figure out which type of Zumba is right for you and how it can be a fun way for you to stay fit.

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    Overview

    A large population of older Americans is rapidly emerging in the early 21st century driven by the aging baby boomers. Many people belonging to this group have been, and continue to be, innovators when it comes to healthier lifestyles. For the most part, boomers have developed much better nutrition and exercise habits than previous generations. Nevertheless, over 62 percent of American adults fail to meet exercise guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Add to that technology-driven sedentary lifestyles and the common practice of ingesting oversized portions of food, and much of the population, including baby boomers, are overweight, if not obese. Because of this, many baby boomers are on their way to becoming disabled seniors, reports USA Today.

    Following a weekly exercise plan that includes aerobic fitness, strength training and stretching routines can help thwart many of the diseases and other conditions related to aging. Regardless of your athletic ability, weight or age, it’s important to get regular aerobic exercise each week. The key is to find the type of aerobic fitness that suits you best. Aerobic dance, such as Zumba, offers a way for seniors to get weekly cardiovascular conditioning exercise and muscle work while also having fun. Some official Zumba group classes provide specific Zumba fitness workouts especially beneficial for seniors, such as Zumba Gold and Aqua Zumba.

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    Aerobic Exercise

    The benefits of regular aerobic exercise, like Zumba fitness for seniors, are many, and some see routine cardiovascular exercise as a fountain of youth. Besides enhancing appearance and boosting self-confidence, aerobic exercise is very beneficial to overall health, and regular aerobic exercise such as Zumba can help you live a longer and healthier life.

    When you perform aerobic activity, large muscles in your arms, legs and hips respond quickly to the repetitive movement. You begin to take in more oxygen as you breathe deeper and faster, which then circulates large amounts of oxygen in your blood. Your heart begins to beat more rapidly, which increases blood flow and oxygen distribution throughout your body. With this process, your body automatically begins to dispose of impurities, and at the same time, it begins to naturally release endorphins in your brain, the “feel good" hormone responsible for improving mood.

    Continued weekly aerobic exercise, such as Zumba fitness, can help you lose or maintain weight, increase stamina and longevity and pump up the immune system. It also helps reduce your risk for many adverse health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some types of cancer. Further, the weight-bearing exercise reduces your risk for osteoporosis and, according to the Alzheimer's Association, aerobic exercise may even help diminish your risk for Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

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    Zumba

    If you don’t have a current health condition preventing you from exercise, and you’ve been cleared by your health care provider for aerobic activity, a basic Zumba class might be right for you. It typically involves a 60-minute aerobic dance workout that incorporates Latin and other types of choreography, such as Bollywood dance moves and sometimes even hip-hop routines.The good news is you don’t have to be a dancer to participate, and the main goal of most Zumba workouts is to have fun.

    Zumba fitness is designed to accommodate most fitness levels, and the dance steps are relatively easy to follow. Even if you don’t follow along to steps demonstrated by the Zumba instructor exactly, you’re still moving aerobically and having fun while doing so. It’s not a dance contest where you’ll be judged on your dance technique or ability. Most people that participate in Zumba enjoy the “Zumba Fitness Party" aspects of the aerobics routine, and you’ll witness this if you observe just about any Zumba class. Participate in Zumba weekly to maintain optimal health and fitness. You can even participate in Zumba at home with products such as Zumba Fitness – WII.

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    Zumba Gold

    Zumba Gold is an aerobic fitness workout designed specifically for seniors. It’s similar to a regular Zumba workout, but the Zumba Gold routine is modified to suit older participants who are more active. It’s also a good way for those who aren’t used to exercising to get started on aerobic activity. Enjoy classic Zumba fitness for seniors routines, including salsa, cumbia and merengue, to zesty Latin and other world beats at a lower-impact pace. Enjoy working out in Zumba Gold classes with active adults in your age group who appreciate staying healthy and fit.

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    Aqua Zumba

    Another way to enjoy a low-impact form of Zumba fitness is to participate in Aqua Zumba. Get a spicy Latin workout without putting pressure on your joints and bones and enjoy a Zumba “pool party" while dancing in water. Splash, twist and stretch your way to fitness during an Aqua Zumba class in a challenging but safe water aerobics workout environment.

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    Health

    Zumba Fitness at any level is a great way to get your weekly cardiovascular workout and to maintain health, but it’s important to check with your health care provider before beginning any new exercise program. If you haven’t had a physical exam in some time, make sure your physician examines you and answers any questions you may have regarding medication or possible health risks.

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    References

    Zumba Fitness: About Zumba

    http://www.zumba.com/en-US/about/

    Alzheimer's Association: Prevention

    http://www.alz.org/research/science/alzheimers_prevention_and_risk.asp?gclid=CL2Hg96V_6kCFUsZQgod7m3lyQ#exercise

    AARP; Seniors Exercise Right to a Better, More Youthful Life; Janice Lloyd; May 10, 2011

    http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/news-05-2011/seniors_exercise_right_to_a_better_more_youthful_life.html

    MayoClinic.com: Aerobic Exercise -- Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aerobic-exercise/EP00002

    Gamespot: Zumba Fitness -- WII

    http://www.gamespot.com/wii/sports/zumbafitness/index.html

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