Story by Cindy Hoskins

Let’s face it, working out can be healthy, rewarding and beneficial, but it’s never been known to be much fun. Until now. Zumba fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a

dynamic fitness program that is so much fun it doesn’t feel like a workout. The goal is simple: To get people working out, to love working out and to get hooked. Zumba fanatics achieve long-term benefits while experiencing an absolute blast in one exhilarating hour of calorie-burning, body-energizing, awe-inspiring movements meant to engage and captivate for life.

The routines feature interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms tone and sculpt your body while burning fat. Add some Latin flavor and international zest into the mix, and you’ve got Zumba.

In the few past years Zumba has become nothing short of a revolution. Coining the concept of fitness-party and making fitness fun, Zumba has spread like wildfire and has positioned itself as the single-most influential movement in the industry of fitness.

As of July 2009, Zumba is being taught at more than 40,000 locations in 75 countries and has changed the lives of millions of Zumba fanatics worldwide.

Celebrity fitness trainer Beto Perez stumbled upon the concept of Latin-inspired fitness in his native country of Colombia, South America, in the mid-1990s. One day, he walked into his class and realized that he had forgotten his aerobics music, and his only option was to grab whatever tapes he had in his car. Beto’s tapes were comprised of the songs that he loved, the traditional Latin salsa and meringue music with which he had been raised. But it was a challenge to improvise a whole class on the spot using non-traditional aerobics music. Beto rose to the challenge and from this last-minute improvisation was born a revolutionary fitness program – Zumba. The class soon became the most popular at his fitness facility.

In 1999, after his success in Colombia, Beto brought the class to the United States. In 2002, a large infomercial company launched the concept nationwide, resulting in the sale of hundreds of thousands of videos to the U.S. market. The overwhelming response created a demand for more Zumba instructors, and Zumba created an instructor training program. The program was an instant success. By September 2006, there were more than 2,000 Zumba instructors worldwide.

Zumba is so popular because it’s fun — it’s the type of exercise you’ll want to do every day; it’s different — you probably never thought you’d be exercising to this type of music; and it’s effective — it is an aerobic workout that you’ll want to stick with.

Locally, you can experience Zumba at the Fitness Studio, 6741-B Beach Drive in Ocean IsleBeach (next door to roberto’s Italian restaurant). Check their website for current class times, or call the fitness Studio at (910) 575-0975.