Zumba may be a trend that's here to stay, but its growing popularity right now has led to an increase in Zumba-related injuries, according to a New York Times article.
Its broad appeal (and celeb-endorsed status) means that many new Zumba class attendees are inexperienced exercisers. While a typical class involves a mix of aerobics and easy-to-follow dance steps, the beat can get fast, and if you're not used to the pace, you may find yourself in an incorrect position. This has led to an increase in lower-body injuries in Zumba enthusiasts, like ankle sprains, hamstring and calf injuries, and muscle spasms, according to one physical therapist.
Are you a fan of Zumba? Read on for expert tips for staying injury-free for your next Zumba class.
- Wear the right shoes. Don't wear your running shoes to Zumba; their thick soles are the opposite of what you need to do fancy side-to-side footwork. Bring another type of thin-soled shoe instead, or invest in a Zumba- or dancing-specific pair. We love these Asics Gel-Naomi 2 shoes, which are designed for dance moves and offer extra cushioning for those jumping moves.
- Find the right class size. One studio owner recommends not going to a class larger than 25. That way, the instructor can always see you, and you'll have a more personal connection with him or her (which especially helps if you are having trouble with moves or need to modify your workout because of a health condition).
- Know your limits. If a sequence gets too complicated, don't push yourself to go full force. Take a few minutes to slow down and get back on track; there'll be plenty of sweat-inducing beats for you to dance to.
- Don't forget to warm up! Don't just go from locker room to rocking moves. Spend a few minutes before class warming up with light cardio and stretching — the physical therapist recommends routine hamstring, calf, and ab stretches after you warm up. Try these hamstring stretches and calf stretches before your next class!
Also important — make sure you've got the go ahead to dance the night away. While it's marketed toward exercise newbies, it's still a hard, sweat-drenching kind of workout, so check with your doctor before you start a class, and make sure your instructor knows if you have any specific injuries or other health conditions.
Source: Flickr User Lifeline Australia