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7 February 2011

Join the Party! Shouts the advert - and they have been in their droves, writes Charlotte Galt...

The world of Zumba fitness is a massive global brand and it's landed in Brockwell Lido.  Developed in the 1990s by a South American Dance Instructor, Zumba aims to help you tone up and shift the pounds by shimmying to the sounds of samba and salsa.

For those of us who felt less than keen to follow the stampede for the January gym deals, Zumba offers an upbeat approach to creating your body beautiful.

Over the years there's been plenty of fusion fitness programmes.  Boxercise, Aqua-areobics  and Spinning have all moulded different elements of exercise together, so what's so great about this?

The 'Join the Party' motto gives a clue.  Dancing to a vibrant latin soundtrack helps the mind forget the body is working hard. Salsa classes have proven popular over the years for couples, but Zumba movements are done by individuals, so no awkward pairing up with random attendees!

Movements are led by an instructor, and repeated methodically, meaning there's less effort trying to remember moves and more effort ploughed into the exercise. 

Participants are able to vary their effort levels according to ability, so there’s no need to over do it, but be warned, you can work up a serious sweat!  Over an hour you can expect to lose 300 - 500 calories, especially toning midriff and arms.

It's advisable to wear regular gym going clothes, and for those getting serious about the sport, running trainers are best swapped for a dance shoe. 

Instructor Li-Leng Hoang explained the logic: "A running shoe has a forward traction, and as a lot of what we do is twisting at the waist, a regular trainer gets a bit stuck.  It's ok to wear a running shoe, but a dance trainer is best," she said.

Whilst there's always a flavour of Latin America in Zumba, the music varies, with the Brockwell Lido class adding elements of hip hop. 

Classes run Tuesday 11 -12pm, Wednesday 18:30 - 19:30pm and Sunday 9:30 - 10:30pm but booking is advisable Hoang warned.  "The classes are so popular now.  Gyms are falling over themselves to provide Zumba classes because everyone wants to do it," she said.

For more information contact Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, SE24 0PA
020 7274 3088

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