Today: Apr 14, 2024

Zumba Red kicks off Heart Health Month activites

Simone Virzi, Staff Writer-
In the ballroom of the Student Center, at least 50 Southern students broke a sweat Monday at the ZumbaRed class, one of the events planned in honor of Heart Health Month.

“Exercise is one of the best ways to get or keep the heart healthy,” said senior Jeanie Wright, who has been a Zumba instructor at Southern for three years. “Zumba is so great for getting the heart rate up.”

Participants take part in Zumba Red. Photo courtesy Brittany Mullen

Zumba is an exercise program in which participants mimic a choreographed dance routine to music.

“I like that it’s not monotonous, like a treadmill,” said senior Steve Taliaferro. “It’s a lot of fun. There’s a surge of energy that you feel.”

Erica Donahue, who said she has been taking Zumba classes for four years now, agreed.

“Zumba is really for everyone,” said Donahue. “It really improves your self-confidence, and you have fun when you’re doing it.”

Compared to other forms of exercise, junior Nicole Sinnott said Zumba is an exciting way to work out.

“Zumba is teaching you a different way to exercise,” Sinnott said.

The fact that participants dance at Zumba appealed to Taliaferro, who said the dance is so much fun that people forget they’re exercising.

Zumba consists of energetic music. Donahue said the upbeat music is what makes the class a party.

On Monday, students danced to a variety of songs at ZumbaRed, including “Wiggle Wiggle” by Fulianto, “Drop It On Me” by Ricky Martin, “Wobble” by V.I.C., and “Bon Bon” by Pit Bull. Wright said she takes song requests from her students and has a new warm-up song approximately every two weeks to add variety to the class.

Zumba is “unique because of its cultural component,” Donahue said. “It has Latin flavor and African beats which is really neat, fun and different.”

Students who participate in Zumba dance while sweating and burning off calories. A participant can burn off 500 calories in an hour from the class, Wright said.

“If you want to get exercise or lose weight, take Zumba by all means,” Taliaferro said.

When she was younger, Sinnott said she had high blood pressure. Her doctor recommended she exercise.

“Any type of exercise can affect your heart in a good way,” Sinnott said. “My blood pressure has dramatically changed.”

“Too little physical activity can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and diabetes,” according to the WGBH Educational Foundation. “Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and improve your overall health.”

Twice a semester, Zumba is offered as a free class to non-gym members.

“One class is to promote awareness, like having a healthy heart. The other is for fun,” Wright said. “It gives students the opportunity to try to get back into exercising. It is a wake-up call to take care of yourself.”

Southern has scheduled a variety of events this month to bring awareness to Heart Health Month. On Wednesday, Southern hosted a Heart Walk in the Moore Field House. Jump rope for Heart Health Month will be held in the Fitness Center on Wednesday from 5:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. A health fair will also take place on Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the food court in the Student Center. Southern will also be offering services including blood pressure and body fat screenings.

Zumba classes are offered regularly to gym members on Sundays from 5-6 p.m., Mondays from 6:15-7:15 p.m., Tuesdays from 7-8 p.m., Wednesdays from 12:15-1 p.m., and Thursdays from 5-6 p.m. in the Fitness Center.

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