Today’s sedentary lifestyle has influenced the common saying that sitting is a bigger killer than even smoking. That is a major oversimplification, but it is true that living a sedentary lifestyle results in health complications over time. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days incorporating muscle-strengthening activity each week.

It sounds like a lot, but by breaking up your exercise time into digestible chunks, such as 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, it becomes manageable. And of course, it is OK and even beneficial to exceed 150 minutes a week as long as you are careful to listen to your body and not overdo it.

The struggle some of us experience when trying to stick to an exercise routine is not always the lack of time or physical stamina we have, but instead, it’s from boredom. The hum-drum traditional exercise models, such as the elliptical machine, a staple for a solid cardio workout, can begin to feel like a hamster spinning on its wheel. So, the question becomes how to make working out fun again. For some, the answer is the dance workout trend Zumba.

What exactly is Zumba?

Zumba is an aerobic and cardio workout utilizing fun dance moves, usually based on Latin dance styles like salsa, as well as hip-hop influences. The trendy exercise craze was created by fitness mogul Beto Perez, gaining immense popularity in the early 90s and continuing to grow exponentially to this day with over 100,000 certified instructors teaching Zumba around the world, according to the BBC News article “Zumba: How a missing tape launched a global craze.” Zumba is typically taught by a certified Zumba instructor in a group class setting, with more people joining the party every day to improve their mood and their health.

Healthline explores “The Surprising Health Benefits of Zumba” in a compelling article. It turns out, Zumba isn’t just fun; it is a valuable workout. Zumba takes the healthful benefits of salsa and aerobics to get people moving and puts them in a full-body workout. At first, it can feel a little awkward keeping up with the steps and matching the moves of your instructor. Yet, that hardly matters as long as you do your best to keep moving and keep up your heart rate.

Zumba is also a good calorie burner, so it can help promote losing weight and maintaining a recommended body weight. Numerous studies have been conducted by various scientific entities that resoundingly affirm Zumba’s potential health benefits. The Journal of Sport Science Medicine’s 2012 study “Zumba®: Is the ‘Fitness-Party’ a Good Workout?” noted that a customary, 39-minute Zumba class burned an average of 9.5 calories per minute. This adds up to 369 calories in total throughout the class, which meets the recommended criterion of the American Council on Exercise that states that individuals should burn 300 calories per workout.

Other possible benefits that Zumba participants have reported include better endurance, improved cardiovascular fitness and even cases of decreased blood pressure. It’s also worth making the point that Zumba is an infinitely scalable and adaptable exercise regimen, so anyone of almost any age can participate at an intensity level that is appropriate for them. Even Zumba for kids, sometimes marketed as Zumbini, has gained remarkable traction. Lastly, Zumba has a welcoming social and supportive aspect to it that helps exercisers in their mental well-being as well as their physical.

The Life University Fitness Center offers a wide variety of group fitness activities, including dance cardio. Try something different and break out of your fitness rut! Click here to see all the classes available at the Fitness Center.


Slice of LIFE is an invitation to and extension of everything happening at Life University. Whether you are a current student, a potential freshmen, or a proud alum, Slice of Life can help keep you connected to your academic community. Know of a compelling Life U story to be shared, such as a riveting project, innovative group, or something similar? Let us know by emailing