7 Healthy Perks of Zumba That You've Got to Know about ...

As a dancer, I was immediately drawn to the many perks of Zumba. Deriving from Latin dance and incorporating other elements such as soca, hip hop and martial arts, Zumba's popularity has gained momentum in recent years. Coupled with energetic music, it's a great way to both stay active and have fun while doing it. Check out these amazing health perks of Zumba that will have you running to the nearest gym (or living room).

1. Full Body Experience

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One of the biggest (and most noticeable) perks of Zumba is that it works out your whole body. Rather than solely focusing on isolated areas, this type of dance exercise (or dancercise, as I like to call it) forces you to get up and move. When I first attended a class, I was both excited and nervous (as dance was the extent of my exercise routine) at how lively and interactive everything was.

2. Body Toning

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On the heels of this full body workout, Zumba allows you to effectively tone many parts of your body at once. I like to think of Zumba as an eclectic mix of fitness moves as it can both strengthen your core and tone your muscles. Get ready to tighten those difficult areas without even noticing!

3. Lowers Blood Pressure

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This is possibly one of my favorite aspects of this exercise routine. Paired with a healthy diet, it has been said that Zumba can help lower your blood pressure. This factor is incredibly important as high blood pressure often leads to a range of health issues, including heart disease.

4. Shake Those Calories Away

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Countless studies that have been conducted since its debut in the 1990s prove that Zumba is an excellent way to burn off all of those extra calories that you've accumulated throughout your day. Depending on the intensity of the workout (but first being sure to take your safety and limits into consideration), it is possible to burn an average of 400 calories or more in a single hour. What's better than shaking them away in style?

5. Stress Relief

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This next perk may go without saying, but exercise as a whole is considered to be an amazing alternative stress reliever. This is due in part to the amount of energy put into the routine; because Zumba is a highly active sport that involves rigorous dancing, it essentially gives you a chance to dance the stress away. I can definitely attest to this theory.

6. Cardio Endurance

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All of the intense dancing and working out adds up to the improvement of your cardio endurance. This point has been confirmed in a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise, which monitored the heart rate (HR) of different candidates while participating in this exercise routine. They stated that the "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."

7. Keeping Things Fresh

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Lastly, because a wide variety of music is incorporated into a single class, it will be harder for your body to become used to your exercise routines, a factor that usually slows down the weight loss process. The large expanse of fitness and dance moves available will pave the way for more opportunities to burn calories and tone muscles without giving your body the chance to become fully acclimated.

I first started doing Zumba last year and have not turned back since because of the many results I have achieved. What are some other benefits of Zumba that keep you coming back? Are there any Zumba fitness videos that you would recommend?

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