Surprising Benefits of Zumba for Elderly People

Advice For Seniors

zumba benefits to elderly people

Zumba and Zumba Gold classes are led by fun and helpful instructors

Have you experienced a group fitness class that is fun, social, and helps you break a sweat? If you are searching for your next fitness obsession, Zumba might just be it. Don’t worry if you feel like you might not be in the age demographic or have the right fitness level. Zumba is perhaps one of the most senior-friendly workouts out there. In fact, older adults across the globe are seeing the physical, mental, social, and cognitive benefits from their regular participation in this fun, energetic, and musical fitness class.

Here’s what you need to know about Zumba and the benefits that can come from participating.

 

Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.

 

What Is Zumba?

Zumba has been around since the early 1990s and it shows no signs of stopping as it has only gained momentum over the past few decades. Developed by a Columbian dancer and choreographer named Alberto Perez, Zumba gets participants up and moving to dance routines set to upbeat music.

Zumba is accessible to any fitness level, and since routines are built over time throughout a series, participants can watch their confidence grow as they master new steps each week. Thanks to the dance party atmosphere at Zumba classes, it is quite a social experience where participants cheer one another on.

Older adults can participate in any Zumba class, adapting as needed. However, if they would like the same amount of fun at a slower pace and lower intensity, specialized Zumba Gold classes are available in most senior centers, park districts, and dance studios.

 

Aerobic Benefits

Cardiovascular health is crucial to overall wellness at any age, but especially as we age. The American Heart Association reports that nearly 42 million Americans over the age of 60 have some type of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, consistent aerobic exercise can get the heart pumping and keep serious cardiac events at bay. 

Zumba is a fun way to get moving, making senior participants more likely to attend regularly. This consistent participation makes aerobic exercise a part of their weekly routine, maximizing their cardiac health.

 

It’s Easy on the Joints

While Zumba does include some jumping, it’s generally considered low-impact work. Even more low impact is Zumba Gold, which focuses on movement without jarring any joints. This can be especially helpful for anyone who lives with arthritis or joint pain, as well as anyone who may have had a joint replacement procedure in the past.

 

Improves Balance and Agility

Zumba is full of fancy footwork, helping senior participants increase balance, stability, and agility. All of this extra focus on balance work can lead to a decreased risk of falling at home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends implementing balance and strength activities three times per week in order to improve mobility and decrease fall risk. Taking a Zumba or Zumba Gold class three times per week can meet and exceed this recommendation for most older adults.

 

Better Weight Management

While no one should exercise solely to lose weight (there are so many other benefits regular exercise brings to your life!), regular movement can certainly lead to dropping a few extra pounds. For those in weight maintenance mode, regular activity can ensure extra weight doesn’t creep on due to a sedentary lifestyle.

Zumba and Zumba Gold are both excellent weight management tools. One 45 minute class can burn between 300 and 600 calories, which paired with a healthy diet of nutritious foods, can make weight loss or weight management even easier.

 

Keeps Your Brain Sharp

Believe it or not, one of the best activities older adults can do to decrease cognitive decline is dancing! Since dancing requires brain exercise to remember steps and technique as well as physical exercise, it creates the perfect activity to keep your mind sharp. Dancing also requires a lot of movement that crosses the midline, which creates better neurological opportunities. For example, when your right arm crosses your body to touch your left knee, your brain works harder than if your right arm was simply touching your right knee.

Zumba and Zumba Gold use dance as the foundation of classes. You’ll learn steps through repetition and will quickly pick up on new routines with a bit of practice during the sessions. Your body and your brain get a first-class workout.

 

Boosts Emotional Health

zuba for seniors for fall prevention

Part of the Zumba experience is the socialization with other participants. Everyone cheers one another on!

There’s nothing quite like a workout to boost serotonin levels in the brain, leaving you feeling great as you leave the gym. Add in energizing music and you have an instant pick-me-up that will keep you coming back for more each session.

Zumba not only provides a feel-good workout with lots of energetic music, but it also uses repetition to help participants learn steps. This repetition can be meditative, making Zumba or Zumba Gold even more relaxing than other workout options for older adults.

 

You’ll Never Stop Improving

One of the biggest benefits to Zumba and Zumba Gold is the progress participants see from class to class, month to month. Perhaps this week you nail the ball-chain step or maybe you notice you could add in a spin this week that you couldn’t have done a few months ago. Noticing progress is one more incentive for showing up to regular classes and putting in the work.

 

Helps with Consistency

One of the biggest barriers to exercise routines is the lack of consistency. It can feel difficult to make regular movement a part of your weekly routine, but consistency is key if you want to see and feel the benefits of your exercise program.

Zumba and Zumba Gold create an environment that feels more like a party than an exercise class, which can lead to improved consistency. Participants get to know one another and form social bonds within the class, making everyone feel accountable to one another. Participants cheer one another on just as much as the instructor does and the classes are downright fun, not boring. Each of these factors makes it more difficult to skip a class, improving consistency which leads to other benefits.

 

Letting Go and Laughing

Thanks to the social nature of Zumba and Zumba Gold, participants don’t feel pressured to nail the footwork or routines right away. Instead, participants are encouraged to give it a try and to laugh it off if they miss a step. This lighthearted approach, along with the energetic music, allows participants to just be in the moment and enjoy the movement. There aren’t too many opportunities to just let go outside of a Zumba classroom.

Could Zumba or Zumba Gold be your next obsession? You just might find a new social group and a new outlook on life if you try it out.