Dancing Zumba for five weeks can improve emotional health, say scientists from the University of Granada, who studied inactive university workers who participated in the study.
Zumba is an exercise fitness program that combines upbeat international and Latin music with dance steps from salsa, merengue, and others to create fun "workouts."
Volunteers worked in a public university with eight-hour schedules that consisted primarily of sedentary work, which was a risk factor for their health. They participated in an exercise program based on Zumba Fitness®, with the aim of studying its impact on their quality of life, both in the short- and medium-term.
The physical exercise program was carried out three days a week at the end of the workday, through one-hour classes taught by a certified ZIN Zumba Fitness Instructor and Graduate in Physical Activity and Sports Science.
Participants reported significant improvements in most measures of quality of life, including social, emotional, physical state, physical pain, physical functioning, vitality, mental health and general health.
Moreover, even two months after the program ended, most measurements of quality of life were still above those recorded at the beginning of the program.
"It is interesting to note that the emotional dimension, which was the one with the lowest values at the beginning, was the one with the highest values at the end of the exercise program and, therefore, the one that experienced the greatest improvement," wrote researchers Yaira Barranco Ruiz and Emilio Villa González.
The research was published in the Health Education Journal.
An earlier study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise found that Zumba was an effective workout. Researchers tested subjects participating in Zumba classes while outfitted with a heart-rate monitor.
"If we look at the heart-rate monitor strips from the Zumba fitness session, they kind of look like interval workouts, going back and forth between high intensity and low intensity," said lead researcher Mary Luettgen. "Because of that, with Zumba you burn a lot of extra calories compared to a steady-state exercise like jogging."
"It’s a total-body exercise — a good, high-energy aerobic workout," explains researcher John Porcari. "Zumba fitness is also good for core strengthening and flexibility gains because there are lots of hip and midsection movements."
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