Changing lifestyles and gadget-fuelled entertainment have seen a growing number of kids turning overweight and obese. But, it is difficult to get them to hit the gym, because children equate machines with monotony. That’s where Zumba Kids comes in. A fusion of groovy Latin American music, games and vibrant moves, this makes workouts fun sessions for the little ones.
Sucheta Pal, Master Trainer for Zumba Kids says games are a must for children. “Their attention span is shorter compared to adults.” Only a mix of many activities will hold their interest. “Games develop leadership qualities and social skills in children,” she says. For instance, they might be asked to move like their favourite cartoon characters and animals!
“These exercises help their body become more supple,” says Abdul Kareem of Emstep-Dance and Fitness Studio. He launched the first Zumba Kids session in the city earlier this month.
Sucheta conducted the session and says the enthusiasm of the children was fantastic. “They paid such attention to each instruction. It was fun.” The parents too joined their children in the fun. Homemaker M. Jayanthi had come with her five-year-old daughter. “I am all for Zumba Kids. I am an athlete myself. I want my daughter to hit the track one day and am training her to be a fit person.”
Zumba Kids is for children between seven and 12 while Zumba Kids Junior is for kids between four and seven, explains Abdul. Though they share a similar choreographic style with regular zumba, there are differences, he says. “Regular zumba involves energetic and wide moves, but Zumba Kids is all about simple steps. There, we play back-to-back songs. Here, we break down the steps for children.”
High-tempo music is avoided as it might disturb children. Also, instead of familiar Bollywood strains, children dance to music from foreign shores. “The advantage is that they are unfamiliar with this music. So, every time they listen to it, it sounds new.”
Sucheta says zumba classes are a great opportunity to include a bit of history about the dance form. “We include themed activities where we teach them about the different dance moves and where they originated from.” For instance, during a session of Cumbia, the children are taught about Columbian culture, through props.
The best part about Zumba Kids is that it is a group activity, says Sri Vidya Vinod, a parent. “My daughter meets her peers. They have a good time. It provides a stress-free environment for children pressurised by tuitions and exams.”
That is why it is important to introduce zumba as part of the academic curriculum, says S. Prince, a school teacher. “Children don’t consider zumba as exercise. And, thanks to the music, they dance on. This relaxes them.”
Many international schools have approached Abdul to introduce the course.
“But, I want to make this accessible to students of regular schools as well. Childhood obesity is a huge problem. There are so many junk food outlets all around. We need an effective fitness regime to counter this. And Zumba Kids is the answer to it.”
The Zumba Kids and Zumba Kids Junior classes will start at EMSTEP-Dance and Fitness Studio from the first week of December. The classes will take place twice a week. For details, call 90475-55000, 90470-61555.