This is my friend Tania. When I first met her, I was incredibly jealous. I’ll admit it. This picture doesn’t do her justice – she could easily win Miss Universe she’s that gorgeous. And she’s had two kids. But then I got to know her and she’s one of those rare types that are as kind as they are beautiful and all the jealousy evaporated. (Also, one of my talents in life is being able to get over emotions very quickly. Sure it makes birthday parties less fun but I never stay mad!) My curiosity, however, stayed. I’d see her and wonder how she did it – if it was just great genes or iron willpower or something else. And then when I posted something on Facebook asking people for their experiences with Zumba, I got my answer.
And it wasn’t just her answer, it was the answer for a lot of women! Many people talk about exercise in general being life-changing for them – certainly has been for me! – but it is the rare workout that people credit specifically for saving their lives. CrossFit, martial arts and yoga are the ones that come immediately to mind but in my research for a Shape.com piece, I kept coming across another one and it surprised me: Zumba.
I’m not sure if it’s the freedom to be sexy or the freedom to dance without having to be sexy. Or maybe it’s the cameraderie? The fun moves? The super cute skirts?? (I want one of those hip jangly things SO BAD.) I’ve done Zumba myself and really loved it – I’d do it regularly if my gym offered a class at any other time than the middle of the day on Saturday – but it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what makes it so transformative for so many women. And transformative it is: the women who shared their stories for my article cited Zumba for everything from helping them overcome depression/anxiety (Mrs. Fatass!) to assimilate into a new culture like Tania to gaining confidence like these two gorgeous ladies:
Cassie & Anna getting their Zumba groove on!
Any of you do Zumba? What was your experience like it? Check out my slideshow on Shape and my article on why you don’t need mad dance skillz to love Zumba and tell me what it is about Zumba that makes it so different than other cardio classes?? (And for any of you feeling left out of the Zumba love, not everyone falls hard for it. Turbo Jennie is a certified Zumba instructor and yet she’ll be the first to tell you that it is definitely not her groove.)
Zumba aside, do you have a particular workout (or type of workout) that you would say changed your life?
Other stuff I wrote this week:
Are the benefits of barefoot running worth the risks? (Yeah. Kinda. Sorta. Really depends on who you ask….)
Great Mom Debate: Do you let your kids spend their gift money however they choose? (Behold the plague of Pokemon….)
Why French and Chinese Parents are Mean – And why I want to be just like them! (No seriously, Paula Druckerman’s new book Bringing Up Bebe: sounds really awesome. And I don’t usually get excited about new parenting books.)
How generous is the tooth fairy at your house? (This is one childhood tradition I really hate. We’re paying them money for used teeth! If they grow up to harvesting kidneys in a bathtub of ice we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.)
Whitney Houston on the soundtrack of my childhood. (It was like one of those crazy writing assignments they give you in college: Whitney Houston. Eulogy. Related to parenting. 400 words or less. GO! Eesh. And it’s true: I’ve never seen “The Bodyguard.”)