Thomas Bradley / Campus editor
The Zumba workout dance craze has expanded to more than 12 million people around the world and hundreds of Ohio State students are dancing to the beat.
The Latin-inspired group fitness class has found a home at the RPAC. Zumba classes are offered throughout the year and Amanda Crichton, a Group Fitness Instructor at the RPAC, said her classes have been filled since she started teaching Zumba.
“Last fall I was shocked (by how many people were in the class) but now I am used to it,” Crichton said.
Zumba has grown in popularity since it first became a business in 2001. However, according to zumba.com, the Latin-infused dance workout was born out of pure accident.
Alberto “Beto” Perez usually taught a traditional aerobics class in his native country of Colombia but when Perez forgot his usual workout music one day, he decided to improvise with his own mix tapes of salsa and merengue music. The class turned out to be a success and has grown into what is now called the Zumba Fitness Party.
Zumba has become one of the most popular fitness classes since it started, said Scott Holmes, the Fitness and Services Program Coordinator.
Each year, group fitness classes are offered free in the first week of the quarter and during finals week. This quarter, 211 people attended the Zumba class in that first week, Holmes said. This is higher than the average 100 people that the free classes usually attract.
One of the students to attend a free session is Ashley Ingram, a first-year in animal science. Ingram said although it was her first time, she enjoyed the experience.
“I don’t like exercising, but I couldn’t really tell I was exercising,” Ingram said.
Zumba has become exceedingly popular in OSU because it is something students can do together, Crichton said.
“You can go with your friends and get the same workout and have a good time,” Crichton said.
Ingram said one of her favorite parts of Zumba was that she could do it with her friends.
Another benefit of Zumba is that it is a much more interactive workout than going to the gym, Crichton said.
“It’s more than running on the treadmill, you are going to dance,” Crichton said. “A girl I had in my class last week said she burned 600 calories.”
According to zumba.com, the amount of calories a person can burn doing a Zumba workout varies based on body type, but it is possible to burn hundreds of calories in a class.
In each Zumba class, there are 10 to 12 songs that play to keep the workout going. With short breaks in between, people are able to continually move their body to some of today’s most popular pop and Latin songs.
“A lot of people enjoy the music,” Holmes said.
Many students ask for certain songs to be used and even though the instructor cannot use every song, it gives students a chance to become more involved, Holmes said.
However, dance-centered exercises do not appeal to all OSU students.
Brittany Baudo, a fourth-year in finance, said she has heard of Zumba from friends and organizations, but she doesn’t think following the choreographed Zumba dance moves replaces the gym.
“If you are going to the gym, you get to work at your own pace… you can do whatever you want,” Baudo said.
Zumba is centered on certain dance moves and is known for its intense activity during the hour-long class time period.
But some students love the energy.
“I liked it because it was something new, upbeat, energetic, the teacher was great,” Ingram said.
Either way, Baudo said she is not surprised by the popularity Zumba has received.
“It’s a dance workout. Those are really popular now,” Baudo said.
Dance workouts have become increasingly popular not only within OSU but also in the United States. According to zumba.com, Zumba has expanded to more than 110,000 locations and 125 countries.
The popularity of Zumba is something that Holmes said he knew would happen after a similar class featuring Latin dance music received good feedback from students.
“When we started doing this, we knew there was going to be a good response,” Holmes said.
Ingram said she agrees with Holmes that the popularity of Zumba is something that is not surprising.
“I didn’t know about it and I am glad that I got involved,” Ingram said. “It is something I prefer over working out.”
Here at OSU, there are many trainers and classes that occur throughout the quarter. To participate in classes in weeks other than the free weeks, students must have a pass to enter a Zumba class. An all-inclusive pass, which is good for any group fitness class at the RPAC, is $50 per quarter, but half-quarter and single session passes can be purchased for $30 and $5 respectively. Passes can be purchased at the RPAC Welcome Center.