Written by ALLISON MONTROY
Upbeat Latin music, a pool full of friends and a dancing DJ encouraging you to shake your booty. You may think you’ve stumbled into a pool party but it’s Aqua Zumba, a fun fitness class that takes Zumba’s high-energy dance moves from land to water. Zumba’s founder, Alberto “Beto” Perez, accidentally reinvented the standard of fitness classes in the mid-’90s when he forgot to bring his regular music to an aerobics class he was teaching. He rummaged through his bag and used his merengue and salsa tapes instead.
Today, Zumba is offered in more than 125 countries and has grown to include a half-dozen specialty classes, one being Aqua Zumba.
While the same level of exercise as water aerobics, what differentiates Aqua Zumba from its close cousin is the music, level of social engagement and of course, the booty shaking. Like most fitness classes, Aqua Zumba participants can make their workout low, medium or high intensity.
At the Conejo Valley YMCA, instructor Tori Gordon, who admits she encourages a high-intensity session in the pool, is passionate about Aqua Zumba. She says it’s her favorite class to teach and the one she finds helps her keep in the best shape thanks to the exaggerated movements underwater for a full-body workout.
Research already hints that cardiovascular fitness and cognitive functioning are related. Aqua Zumba addresses both, tossing in the added challenge of remembering dance routines during cardio, making it a unique workout for mind and body.