A Review of the Zumba Workout for Losing Weight

A Review of the Zumba Workout for Losing Weight

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Zumba can make losing weight a lot of fun.

Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Shake and shimmy those extra pounds off during a fun and energizing Zumba workout. Be prepared to sweat while performing an eclectic variety of dance moves inspired by merengue, salsa, reggaeton, mambo, rumba and flamenco music. How much weight you lose with Zumba depends upon many factors, including your current weight, fitness status and intensity level. While Zumba offers an effective cardio workout, including other forms of exercise to create a comprehensive fitness regimen offers the most calorie-burning potential.

Calculating Calories Burned

While the Zumba workout invokes a dance party atmosphere, the workout is serious about burning calories. A 150-pound person can burn 540 calories in a one-hour Zumba session. In comparison, jogging for an hour burns about 477 calories for a 150-pound person. You must create a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose a pound. According to, overweight people and those with more muscle mass burn calories faster than the average person. Keep that in mind when you step on the scale and compare weight loss totals with your Zumba workout partners.

The Skinny on Zumba

What makes Zumba such a calorie-blasting workout is the constant movement required of the body. With Zumba, you perform dance moves and aerobic exercises at a variety of speeds to high-energy music. In addition to shaking your hips to the beat of the music, you will execute body toning moves like lunges and curls. While each Zumba instructor brings their own style to the routine, most Zumba workouts begin with a warm-up session to prepare the muscles for vigorous exercise and end with a cool-down period focused on stretching.

Weight Loss Boosting Tips

To burn the most calories, keep your body moving at all times to maintain an increased heart rate. Flex your arms and pump your fists to engage your arm muscles. Tighten your abs to help tone your core muscles. Include as much vertical movement as possible. Try different versions of Zumba, like Zumba Aqua and Zumba Toning to keep your fitness regimen fresh and prevent boredom.

Creating a Comprehensive Workout

While Zumba may become your favorite workout routine, it is unlikely that you will lose a significant amount of weight by just doing Zumba. Increase your calorie-burning potential by complementing Zumba with other cardio and strength-based activities. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity weekly, paired with at least two days of strength training a week. Create a diverse workout regimen with other high-impact cardio activities like jogging, along with low-impact exercises that help tone muscles such as swimming. Build muscle strength by lifting weights, working out with resistance bands and performing lunges and squats.

Things to Keep in Mind

The Zumba workout can be a challenge for newcomers. Don't overdo it; injuries can occur and will temporarily derail your weight loss plans. Reduce injury risk by performing the moves at your own pace. Talk to your doctor if you have any preexisting health conditions to make sure Zumba is safe for you. Let your Zumba instructor know about any previous injuries so modified versions of moves can be provided. Approach Zumba with a positive attitude and it can become a vital part of your fitness program, helping you to shed weight and tone your body while having a great time.


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