Exercisers sweating to Zumba’s Latin rhythms
Stars and Stripes June 13, 2007
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The beat of Latin music pulsates through the crowded room as people move to the rhythm. A cheer goes up from the crowd as one song ends and another begins.
It’s not Latin night at some club off base. It’s the 9 a.m. Zumba fitness class at Yokota’s Natatorium.
Zumba, which kicked off at Yokota last week, is the latest cardiovascular fitness program to sweep the United States. More than 2.5 million DVDs have been sold worldwide, according to the Zumba Web site.
With movements inspired by Latin music, Zumba uses a combination of fast and slow rhythms to burn calories and tone the body, said Cheryl Sroufe, the Zumba instructor at Yokota, who had 45 people try out her class Saturday.
For about an hour, the students sweated to the sounds of salsa, merengue, mambo and even reggaeton. No one seemed to notice that they never stopped moving.
On average, participants will burn between 500 and 800 calories an hour, said Sroufe, who received her certification as a Zumba instructor in March during a training course held at Yokosuka Naval Base.
“I really enjoyed it,” said MyNga Day, one of the class participants. “It’s a great workout without feeling like a workout.”
Sroufe said one of the major differences between normal aerobics and Zumba is the music.
In most aerobics workouts, the music stays at a constant tempo, using songs specifically arranged for the workout. With Zumba, Sroufe said, many of the songs played during the workout are Latin pop songs heard on the radio.
“There are basic moves and steps that you learn, but there is no right and wrong,” she said, adding that some students get so caught up in the music that they will almost start dancing right in the middle of the workout.
“The moves are just really fun,” said Lydia Valencia, another member of the class. “You don’t even see the hour go by.”
Currently, Yokota and Yokosuka are the only bases in the Pacific that offer Zumba.
Check out these Zumba classes
Yokota Air Base’s Zumba classes meet at the Natatorium on Wednesday at 5 a.m. and on Saturday at 9 a.m. Afternoon classes will be added in July.
At Yokosuka Naval Base, classes are offered on Mondays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Thursdays from 9:35 a.m. to 10:35 a.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
For more information, contact the Yokota Natatorium at DSN 225-6133 and the Yokosuka Wellness Center at DSN 241-4486.
— Bryce S. Dubee