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A New Beat for Your Daily Workout
By Kate Westercamp
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zumba iowa
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ditch the workout; join the party! To join a Zumba class at Mercy Wellness Center or for more information, please call (515) 643.8659. Interested in the Y-HLC? Please call (515) 226.9622 or visit

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In the mid-’90s no one could have predicted the success of the Zumba® program—not even Alberto Perez, who created the exercise phenomenon. Zumba classes now occupy prime spots in fitness facilities throughout the Des Moines area—including the Mercy Wellness Center and the YMCA Healthy Living Center (Y-HLC) in Clive.

Zumba combines Latin and international music with dance in an effort to make exercise fun. “Music is the key ingredient to Zumba classes,” says Jennifer Peterson, Mercy fitness specialist and Zumba-certified instructor. “The score, created with specific beats and tempo changes, transitions the workout from one toning, strengthening, or cardio move to the next and targets every major muscle group in the body.” A variety of dance styles also make Zumba interesting for participants. A typical Zumba workout incorporates moves from salsa, merengue, cumbia, and reggaeton.

“What’s great about Zumba is that you are constantly moving, constantly burning calories,” says Kris Flater of Runnells. Kris first tried Zumba this past summer at the Y-HLC and now makes it part of her fitness regime. “It’s a fun class—you have people across the fitness spectrum all trying to emulate the instructor. It seems more like a wedding reception than a cardio class.” While smiling and having fun, Kris and the other participants can each burn more than 500 calories during a 1-hour class.

Each instructor brings her own flavor to the workout—
just as in any other aerobics class. A good instructor does
more than get up in the front of the class and dance. She
should be cueing the moves and directional changes in advance—both visually and verbally—and breaking down the more complicated dance steps into simpler moves that slowly build in complexity.

Another sign of a quality instructor is one who is able to continually modify the choreography in response to how well the class is picking up the routine. While there will always be those who never quite get it, the majority of the class should be able to successfully follow the instructor's lead and move together in unison.          




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