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Ian Waite from Strictly talks about How Zumba can Help Reshape our Midlife Bodies

Interview by Ceri Wheeldon

As the Strictly competition progresses , we can all see the physical transformation of the female celebrity contestants.  They all get fitter. Their waists get smaller, arms and shoulders are more toned and legs look longer and leaner. If only we could all achieve the same!
Dancer Ian Waite who has been played a part in so many of these transformations on Strictly says dance can help anyone get fitter – without needing a ballroom dance partner!
Ian runs Zumba and his new ‘Ballroom Breakout’ classes ( an exercise routine based on ballroom moves). I asked Ian why Zumba offers such strong fitness benefits.

Why is Zumba such good exercise?
Zumba uses muscles most people don’t target with other forms of exercise. It has a lot of ‘hip action’ so is great for the lower body and losing weight around the middle. It’s also great for the backs of the arms as the routines involve a lot of arm moves. You are constantly working your triceps. I have never before come across such an effective way of getting rid of love handles! At Zumba you are working your whole body. It’s a great way to get fit.

I have been a professional dancer all my life, but can honestly say that I have never felt fitter than I have in the last 12 months since starting Zumba. After a 45 minute class I’m drenched!

Why is Zumba so popular?
Zumba is fun. It’s a great way to dance without needing a partner. It combines exercise with dance moves- lots of the routines feel similar to the cha-cha-cha combined with bits of Samba- in fact 30% of Zumba is based on national dances, so you have bits of American Swing and Bollywood moves- its good fun!

Are there different levels of Zumba classes?
No. With Zumba anyone can come along and work at their own level. There’s no pressure.

How easy is it for a beginner to start Zumba?

How easy would it be for a complete beginner to start Zumba?
It’s very easy to catch up with the moves- I had 15 new people come along to my first class in week 8.  The good thing about Zumba is that nobody is judging technique.  It’s like being at a big party!

What should you wear to Zumba classes?
At Zumba you get a good aerobic workout and build up a sweat so trainers and gym clothes are best. Many of the halls running  Zumba Classes have wooden floors which can be slippery so the right footwear is important.

I understand you run other dance based classes
I have introduced other dance based classes- Ballroom Breakout is a class based on ballroom and Latin dance moves. It’s another way of dancing without a partner and getting fit at the same time.

Many thanks to Ian for sharing his thoughts on Zumba. I have been lucky enough to pop along to his Ballroom Breakout Classes – great fun !   Ian’s classes are on Mondays and Tuesdays at Bearwood College (near Wokingham in Berkshire).

Ian is probably best known for his role as one of the professional dancers on The BBC’s hit show Strictly Come Dancing. Having appeared in almost every series aired, competing in six of them, he has built up a following of dedicated fans and has become a highly respected and recognisable figure and personality in the world of dance.

You can find out more information about Ian at http://www.ian-waite.com/Ian/Biography



Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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