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Dance for joy: Zumba provides good cardio workout, healthy dose of relaxation

At first glance, Zumba looks more like a dance party than a fitness routine. And a dance party isn’t too far off.

The workout trend that has grown in popularity over the years combines movements from several types of dances and aerobics for an energetic round of cardio.

This group class usually lasts for about an hour, and a person can burn up to 600 calories, depending on the energy level they put into it. What people hope to gain varies, something that contributes to the fun, low-pressure atmosphere that makes students keep coming back.

Buena Health Fitness Center Zumba instructor Adi Yocupicio said students are set up to succeed in the class.

“It makes you happy. That's what Zumba is known for, making you happy,” she said. “You have more probability to keep doing it since it's something that you’re enjoying, so you will stick to it.”

Yocupicio has always loved dancing, and first found her passion for Zumba in one of Buena’s classes, getting the opportunity a few months later to become an instructor.

“I fell in love with it because I already love to dance and knowing that it's benefiting my health, making me happy, de-stressing myself … I have been doing it since, and I just love my job.”

The fun and relaxation that comes from Zumba is what fellow Buena instructor Yadira Caflisch loves about it.

“My favorite part is seeing everyone’s smile, thats me,” she said. “I always like to make people smile, so I’m over here doing faces and laughing. That’s why I call myself ‘Coach Loca Tadi.’

“My whole thing is trying to make feel people feel comfortable, because we have so much problems going on in life that I always tell them, ‘From that door when you’re here, smile.’’

Caflisch has been doing Zumba since 2010, when she lived in Michigan. She became a Buena instructor in 2013 when a spot became available.

For her, the focus isn’t necessarily on students getting all the steps right, it’s about feeling good and finding what each individual wants to get from it.

“My interest is to just get people motivated,” she said. “I do some routines, but I don't follow all the choreography because a lot is difficult for students.

“There’s a lot of students who might not be doing what you're doing, and if this person over here is going fast don't worry about it, just keep moving and enjoying.”

Both instructors said many of their students are in it for the social aspect, making friendships with people in class and using it as their way to relax for the week.

Yocupicio said she has many repeat students she calls her “loyals, my ‘ride or dies,’” but her classes are a blend of people with different reasons for attending.

“I have my people who want to lose weight and they have their goals that I help them with,” she said. “I also have a lot of people who just come because they enjoy to dance, come to have fun.

“It's a mix of both.”

Along with its emotional benefits, Zumba is good for one’s overall health.

Zumba can result in weight loss, tones the entire body, promotes cardiovascular health, and improves coordination.

Caflisch said each instructor brings their own flavor to the class, and that modifications are always an option to make the workout the best it can be for each person.

If someone can’t do the jumps that often make up routines, they can instead move in place, or go at a slower speed than another student.

“The whole thing is trying it because we have a lot of zumba instructors here in Sierra Vista,” Caflisch said. “We change it up, We’re all different. Everyone has their own personality. Just come check it out.”

The growth in students, whether it's in their confidence, energy or weight loss goals, is something the instructors see regularly in their return students.

Though class sizes vary, the instructors keep the energy and motivation up no matter the amount of students.

“No matter if there's one or two of you, you're still going to sweat and can still have fun,” Caflisch said.

Buena Health Fitness Center offers Zumba every day of the week in both the morning and evening. Classes cost $1 for members, $3 to $5 for non-members and a monthly pass is available for $25.

There are several other places in town that offer Zumba, including Summit Fitness and Thrive a Wellness Center.

For more information on Zumba at Buena Health Fitness Center, visit www.buenafitness.com.

About Zumba:

Zumba was created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez in the late ‘90s. It combines aspects of hip-hop, samba, salsa, other dance styles, aerobics, squats, lunges and jumps.

Classes tend to run for about an hour.

If you go:

Where: Buena Health Fitness Center

Cost: For members, the cost is $1. Non-members pay $3 to $5 per class. Monthly passes for non-members are $25.

For more information and a schedule of classes, go to www.buenafitness.com.

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