Q: In a one-hour Zumba class, how many calories do you burn?
Because the answer to this understandably popular question is a combination of many contributing factors such as body weight, age and heart rate, there’s not really a good accurate response. A recent informal poll of Zumba instructors revealed numbers ranging from 350 to over 1000, with 6-700 being rather common. These calculations were taken from heart rate monitors worn during class.
As the saying goes, “age is only a number” and perhaps the same common-sense attitude should apply to the calories burned question. A different way you can evaluate the intensity of a workout is by using a Perceived Exertion scale (google it!). When using these systems, you self-monitor the effort you are putting into the exercise at various points during the workout. You want to average at a “moderate” or higher rate in order to maintain or improve fitness. An interval workout like Zumba should drive your perceived exertion between comfortable and intense.
The power is in your hands (and feet). If you check in and it doesn’t feel like you’re working hard enough, then work harder! Push yourself to a more intense level during the fast songs, because you know (usually!) that a slower one is coming next. As much as I love dancing with you, Zumba is still a fitness class at its core. Once you are feeling comfortable with the steps, it’s time to turn up the heat! A nice friendly treadmill can set the pace for you instead, not to mention do a rudimentary calorie calculation, but it’s really no secret that Zumba is WAY more fun.