Ditch the Workout, Join the Zumba Party

Help Your Heart

Go Red Heart CheckUp

Learn about Zumba, the Latin dance-based form of  exercise.Ashley Holekamp, a UW Health Zumba instructor with an extensive dance background, offers insight into the Latin dance-based exercise. Holekamp has been teaching Zumba since September 2008 and enjoys the mental and physical benefits the exercise offers.


What is Zumba?

Zumba is an aerobic fitness program created by Alberto "Beto" Perez. Perez originally is from Colombia and he was a professional dancer who studied all forms of dance. He also was a choreographer for some stars, including Shakira.


What can I expect to experience in a Zumba class?

Zumba means moving fast and having fun! Zumba is generally an hour-long class and the great thing about it is that you can pick your intensity level because there are several options to choose from in each track. Zumba is fun, fun, fun! So expect to get passionate about it after you take it.


Can anyone participate in Zumba? Do you need to have a dance background?
Anyone can participate in Zumba. We also offer Zumba Gold’s for anyone who want a less-intense cardio workout that is easier on the joints. It’s very easy to learn and you do not need a dance background to do Zumba. UW Health Zumba classes include basic steps and incorporate Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and Samba rhythms.
Are there any risk factors or warnings?
Make sure you wear proper shoes for Zumba. The best shoes are a dance-fitness or dance-aerobic shoe. With the increased popularity in dance-fitness classes such as cardio salsa, hip-hop fitness and Zumba, shoe manufacturers have come out with a great assortment of shoes geared to dance fitness. These shoes have multi-directional support and very little tread on the sole. They are lightweight and make it easy to pivot and glide across the floor.
How many calories are burned in a class? 
Expect to burn 500 to 800 calories during an hour-long class. Your instructor will work with you to get maximum results for you.
What muscle groups are worked?
My favorite thing about Zumba is that it works the entire body.
What are the heart health benefits of Zumba? 
Zumba is great for the heart and anyone who has high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. It’s not only a cardio workout, as it also includes sculpting and toning of the body.
What are the emotional and psychological benefits of participating in Zumba classes?
Zumba makes people feel good, no matter what shape or size they are. It’s so much fun and it makes people happy. Expect to make a lot of new friends. You will feel loved and cared for by your Zumba team. Zumba is like a family, we all help and support one another.
Any other fun facts or things you would like people to know?

Zumba instructors and participants often are very community oriented. We hold Zumbathons around the area for charities and other important causes.
How can people sign up to take a Zumba class?
If you live in the Madison area, you can register by calling the UW Sport Medicine Center at (608) 263-7936. If you don't live in the area, classes are easily found through a local recreation or fitness center.