If you love dancing and fitness, you’ve likely heard of the highly popular Zumba exercise program. Growing quickly ever since its debut in the 1990s, this infectiously fun fitness craze combines spicy Latin and world music with invigorating dance rhythms like salsa, mambo, and tango to create a party-like atmosphere that makes you forget you’re exercising. While Zumba proves ideal for young, fit participants, many seniors and baby boomers yearn to join the fun but find traditional Zumba moves too quick and intense. If you fit this description or know someone who does, you’re in luck; Zumba has recently created Zumba Gold, a program that addresses the specific needs of older adults.
Features of Zumba Gold
Targeting baby boomers, Zumba Gold includes the same energizing music, dancing, and atmosphere as regular Zumba while increasing its accessibility for older adults, unconditioned beginners, and others who require modified fitness routines. Zumba Gold classes last 30 to 45 minutes instead of the traditional 60 minutes. In addition, Zumba Gold sessions feature longer warm-ups and cool-downs great for those in need of assisted living placement. You don’t need previous dance experience since the trained instructors break moves down into small, manageable steps, and some routines feature half-tempo moves. Highly aerobic but reduced in speed and intensity, Zumba Gold works the legs, hips, and arms safely and effectively and focuses on balance, flexibility, strength, and heart health. The program also provides chair-based instruction for wheelchair participants.
Benefits of Zumba Gold for Seniors
Zumba Gold gives seniors many physiological benefits. This endurance-training program provides cardiovascular and weight-bearing exercises, which strengthen the heart and circulatory system, burn calories for weight control, and promote bone health. In addition, the continuous movement helps seniors build their strength and retain or improve their mobility, range of motion, and posture. These benefits help participants perform day-to-day activities more easily. Find assisted living on the Assisted Living Today website that offers Zumba Gold also features careful transitions between pivots and dance moves to protect the knees.
Seniors also derive tremendous psychological benefits from Zumba Gold, see these assisted living resources for more. Since many seniors experience shifts in their relationships with loved ones and social groups, which can lead to isolation, loneliness, and depression, participants profit greatly from the sense of connection and community that Zumba Gold classes provide. Socializing also promotes longevity.
Considerations for Seniors Participating in Zumba Gold
For maximum safety and enjoyment, seniors should observe the following considerations during Zumba Gold classes.
- Watch Your Perceived ExertionEven if it doesn’t seem like exercise, dancing constitutes a highly aerobic activity that participants shouldn’t underestimate. Zumba Gold instructors are trained to monitor participants’ physical changes during sessions, but seniors should also pay attention to their own perceived exertion while exercising. If you experience shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, muscle fatigue, or difficulty breathing while exercising, stop and catch your breath but keep moving by walking around. Begin again slowly and continue to monitor your perceived exertion. The program will become easier as you complete more sessions.
- Adapt Routines to Your Physical Needs Inform your instructor of any physical conditions you may have. Although all seniors should exercise, it is important to identify any contraindicated movements. The instructors can teach you appropriate modifications for any dance moves that you cannot or should not perform. For example, if you’ve had hip-replacement surgery, you need to eliminate moves that cross the body’s midline.
- Wear Appropriate Clothing and ShoesWearing the right clothing to Zumba Gold classes is important. Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that allow a wide range of motion prove ideal. In addition, wear well-padded cross-training shoes with good arch support to assist the ankles and knees during turns and pivots.
- Drink Enough WaterAlways stay well-hydrated when exercising. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink; instead, bring along a full water bottle and drink plenty of water before, during and after the workout.
Fortunately, Zumba Gold makes exciting, effective Zumba workouts accessible to adults of all ages and fitness levels. To locate a Zumba Gold class near you, visit http://www.zumba.com. At the top of the page, click “Find a Class.” Enter your location or go to this good site (with info on senior homes in Massachusetts that offer Zumba Gold) to find facilities from the menu of class types.