There is a buzz about town as zumba instructors show Coimbatoreans the moves to a healthy life

: Fitness expert and licensed Zumba instructor M. Edwin calls his new warm-up routine ‘chaircocise’. It is a total workout for the upper body. At the demo, I follow his instructions and move to the edge of the chair, stretch my legs, bend my knees, and repeat the cycle …it feels good.

“Chaircocise is suited for corporate and IT employees who spend long hours on chair at office.

The workout targets upper neck, upper back, arms, shoulders and abs,” he says. And, it’s also a part of the warm-up exercise at the routine zumba classes at Edwin’s Footloose Dance School. It also helps those who have knee problems and cannot cope with standing exercises.

At the Shape Up 2012 event, his team of young and old trainees, sit on their chairs, throw their arms about, move their bodies, and shake a leg, to the beat of thumping music. They smile a lot even as they burn those extra calories. A zumba fitness session follows with Sucheta Pal, the Zumba education specialist and master trainer from Mumbai. Trained in zumba fitness from the U.S., she is here to conduct a two-days training programme for instructors.

Zumba is a dance fitness programme created by dancer and choreographer Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez in the 1990s. It has a set of fast and slow steps, and the music originates in Latin-American styles as well as reggae, salsa, merengue, samba, flamenco, belly dancing, bhangra and hip hop. “Zumba fitness is catching up in a big way in the South. Its catch line is ‘ditch the workout, join the party’ …and the music is addictive,” she smiles.

You don’t need a background in dance or any fitness programme for zumba. Sucheta calls it a total fitness for the body, mind and soul. “Sixty minutes into zumba and you can burn 500 to 800 calories. You can choose the high intensity or the low intensity moves that suit your body type and energy levels. It covers cardio workouts, strength exercises and a lot of psychological well-being.”

Zumba has been on for 12 years and is active in 125 countries, and over millions of people have taken to it. “Because of the lifestyle and eating out, people have to workout to stay fit. They prefer to let their hair down and have fun instead of gymming which gets monotonous after a while. Stay away from junk food, oily food, and late night dinners. But, drink plenty of water,” she advises.

“Many families zumba together. Mothers come with daughter in tow for a workout. Kids have a version for themselves called zumba tomic. Rarely anyone drops out,” says Keith Fernandes, the training co-ordinator for zumba from Ruth of Crew, Goa. “It keeps alive the interest in work-out and we want to promote it through events such as a zumbathon where learners and instructors come together and rock the party.”

For details, call: 96553-36633.

Zumba’s catch line is ‘ditch the workout, join the party’