A great exercise program that’s more like a party than work seems too good to be true. But those who’ve discovered the Zumba Fitness® phenomenon enjoy numerous health and fitness benefits – while thoroughly enjoying themselves in the process!

Developed by Alberto “Beto” Perez in the mid-‘90s, this Latin-inspired dance-fitness program blends Latin and world-music beats, choreographed to allow people of any fitness level or dance experience to get a beneficial workout they’ll love. The Zumba program has grown to become the world’s largest – and most successful – dance-fitness program, with weekly classes held in more 110,000 locations across more than 125 countries.

Although it may initially look like a typical aerobics class, Zumba has a distinctly party vibe, from the coin-bangled hip skirts to the Latin and hip-hop dance club music and the high-energy instructors who lead the festivities.

This fun and effective program uses interval training that combines fast and slow rhythms for an effective aerobic workout, while at the same time targeting your legs, abs, glutes and arms. The dance moves aid in strengthening the core muscles of the abdomen, while also strengthening pelvic muscles – which helps prevent back pain.

As with any cardiovascular workout, the benefits of Zumba can include calorie burn, increased aerobic threshold, more stamina, increased bone density, improved balance and muscle tone, less body fat, and lower blood pressure.

As a fat-buster, Zumba is choreographed to provide alternating intervals of low and high intensity levels in both the pace of music and type of movements. This helps you burn more calories in each workout – typically 400 to 600 per hour, depending on individual physical factors. Fitness moves are also incorporated in Zumba classes, so you could find yourself moving from a fast merengue beat to a slow set of push-ups on the wall.  To promote flexibility and reduce muscle strain, warm-ups and cool-downs are a regular part of the Zumba program.

But Zumba’s fun factor is what keeps people coming back week after week. The lively music and upbeat mood encourage participants to forget their inhibitions and get caught up in the moment. Zumba’s inclusive spirit is another big appeal, with specialty sessions geared toward baby boomers, and Aqua Zumba for those who favor a low-impact workout with a pool-party atmosphere.

The best way to find out what Zumba is all about is to experience it for yourself. Sign up today for a free Zumba class at your favorite Future Fitness location. In this case, what seems too good to be true really IS true!