The Zumba craze

Published 12:14 pm Saturday, December 18, 2010

Patti Yaw, far right, teaches Zumba to a group of women Thursday night in Alden at the LeVerne Carlson Fitness Center. The exercise combines different types of dance moves and is good for people of all ages. -- Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

ALDEN — A new kind of fitness program has a large number of people in this community excited about working out.

Zumba is a cardio workout that combines Latin dance and toning exercises. Patti Yaw teaches two groups Zumba twice a week. She also plans to teach in Albert Lea and Wells in January, because more and more people are wanting to try Zumba.

“It provides a great workout no matter what fitness level a person is at,” Yaw said.

She said people don’t have to be dancers to enjoy the exercise because the dance steps are learned through repetition. Over the course of one workout a variety of different kinds of dance like salsa and merengue.

Women follow instructor Patti Yaw’s movements during a Zumba class Thursday evening in Alden.

Yaw originally took a Zumba class with her daughter and liked it so much she hasn’t stopped. She said she’s tried various exercises throughout the years, but Zumba was different because she has always wanted to keep doing it.

She’s also working to get more people interested in the exercise because it can be enjoyed at all ages. She said she’s had older women take her class who enjoy working at their own pace.

“It’s designed for any age and any fitness level,” Yaw said. “You work as hard as you can work so as you keep working you can increase your intensity.”

Yaw teaches two classes in Alden at LeVerne Carlson Fitness Center of about 40 women. Jane Thompson, coordinator at the fitness center, said she’s heard positive feedback about the Zumba classes.

“It’s fairly new to this area,” Thompson said. “It gives participants a fun, new fitness option.”

She said members and nonmembers of the fitness center can take the class, and that Zumba is a good compliment to working out. Zumba offers variety to a workout regimen of walking, running or lifting weights.

Patti Yaw shows the group dance moves during a Zumba class Thursday evening. She said she loves the exercise because it doesn't get old.

The fitness center was recently opened in Alden and is a 24-hour facility. Thompson said people in Alden have liked having a place nearby to workout.

“It has been a wonderful addition to our small community,” Thompson said. “The wide range of amenities it offers has something for every fitness level.”

Yaw agreed that the fitness center has been convenient for people living in Alden or the surrounding area who want to exercise at any time of day.

One woman in Yaw’s Tuesday and Thursday evening class said she heard about Zumba from a friend and was looking for something to supplement her other workouts. Lori Fleming, of Hartland, said she likes socializing with the other women who attend the class.

“It’s good exercise,” Fleming said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

She said the exercise is great for people who like to dance. She said it helps improve her attitude and keeps her in good shape.

Yaw said a majority of her students had never taken a Zumba class before, but went to her trial session and were hooked.

Yaw offers classes in Alden from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. She said classes will continue as long as there are people interested. People can contact her to sign up at 507-402-2030.

Cindy Enderson, who works with adult enrichment at Albert Lea Community Education, said Zumba has grown immensely popular.

“It’s different because it’s a dance to music with no competition,” Enderson said. “You go at your own pace and it’s just really upbeat.”

Albert Lea Community Education offers three Zumba classes in the winter session, starting in January. Community Ed can be reached at 507-379-4834.

Zumba can be a good supplement to working out, which is why the coordinator at the fitness center in Alden appreciates having the classes.

Albert Lea Family Y offers two classes of Zumba as well. There is a twice weekly morning and evening class. For more information call 507-373-8228.