I have been participating in Zumba lately and I feel more stiff after I do something else rather than Zumba. Is Zumba a good choice to working out or is it more a fun choice if it was Zumba or nothing? What does Zumba do?
A big part of choosing a weight loss regiment is choosing something you are going to continue doing. Zumba appeals to a lot of people because it has a dance aspect, which makes it fun for them. (There is a stigma associated with working out in a "boring old gym.") If you are going to continue to do Zumba over other workout routines, then definitely stick with it.
As to how effective it is, that really depends on the length and intensity of your workout. There is a lot of movement to it, and if you are actually working hard (and sweating), then you are burning off calories. That means, assuming you watch your diet as well, you will lose weight and achieve muscle tone.
I would suggest that you do a combination of activities (helps mix it up, too).
- Zumba - A few times a week. This is your cardio/weight loss exercise.
- Weight/Strength Training - Do this once or twice a week. Doing this actually helps you burn MORE calories when you're doing your cardio portion because your muscles require more energy. It's been shown time and time again that individuals who supplement cardio with weight training maintain a healthier physique and reduced weight.
- Eat Correctly - Do NOT starve yourself or go on any fad diet. Eat properly. Healthy proteins (chicken, fish, etc). Vegetables. Fruits. Don't come home from a class and gorge on ice cream or you will see no weight loss (and probably the opposite). However, it is good to reward yourself at times (at least a couple times a week) with a small treat.
Keep those three things in mind, and make sure you're working out at the proper intensity level, and you will see the changes you are looking for.
Zumba, like any physical activity will have benefit in weight-loss and toning. It just depends on how long and how hard you go at it.
The idea is to keep up your heart rate and keep moving. As long as you do this you will be burning calories.
As wikipedia says:
The best way to tone is to utilize aerobic exercise to reduce body fat and perform weight resistance exercise to build muscle. Performing a combination of such exercises can be referred to as toning.
With the dance exercises involved in Zumba this definitely fits in the aerobic exercise category. For best results you should combine this with some resistance training.
I do a lot of salsa and other latin dances which Zumba is based on. Mind you I'll do about 3-4 hours of it a week. And it does burn off a lot of calories.
If you get really good at Zumba with proper weight transfers and balance and can follow the music, then you'll really enjoy it and the weight will almost fall off on its own. Zumba like any other dancing is all about enjoying yourself. Pushing yourself to do more complicated dance patterns and moves.
The trick is not to set a weight loss goal, it's to set a dancing achievement goal, that way you'll get addicted and never stop enjoying. Then maybe go take real Zumba classes to challenge yourself, trade tips, etc. Next thing you know you could become a Zumba instructor. It's all about the right motivation. You may not want to become an instructor, but still aim for it so you never stop.
Remember, step on toes first, strengthen the core to help with the weight transfers.