Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Zumba: Spicy, Sexy and a great Workout

Zumba participants enjoy the fun workout

   Turn up the Latin music, add nonstop rhythmic dance and you have one of the latest fitness inspired regimes that continues to sweep the world.
   Hilo, along with the rest of the planet, has been getting its hearts pumping to Zumba which mixes fast Latino beats with resistance training to spice up an hour’s worth of aerobic exercise.
Zumba classes are springing up all over the Big Island as people, both young and old, are motivated by the high energy music which brings together various dance styles from Salsa, to the Mambo, Calypso, Maringue and even the Cha-cha.
   “I love the music and I love to dance,” Zumba student Claire Shigeoka said. “The workout involves a bit of belly dancing with some great music and it makes me feel sexy when I’m doing it.”

Cheryl Cobile

   On this particular day the venue was Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium — not the usual Aunty Sally’s Luau House which was being used for a different event. But the dance instructors were still the same, with the upbeat Cheryl Cobile and Dawnelle Forsythe.
   “We’ve been leading Zumba classes in Hilo since April 6 of this year,” Cobile said. “Previously we were at the Prince Kuhio Plaza, but it had a capacity of 80 and we were turning 20 to 30 people away at every class.”
   Cobile and Forsythe then connected with the County to use Aunty Sally’s or the Civic every  Monday through Thursday, and they’ve averaged 130 to 160 participants at each class. Ages range from 10 to 80, according to Forsythe.
   “We once had a free friends and family night, and more than 400 people showed up,” a smiling Cobile said.  
   Both women are certified Zumba instructors and charge $4 at the door for an hour long lesson with anxious participants lining up at the entrance anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half in advance.
   Cobile works at Office Max in Hilo while Forsythe is employed by the County’s Housing Department.
   “I have three kids and one day last year I saw a sign at the YWCA offering Zumba classes,” Cobile said. “Once I took my first class, I was hooked as this is such a fun way to do a workout.”

Dawnelle Forsythe

Forsythe’s motivation for trying Zumba took a different curve as she was looking for a distraction from depression as a result of her developing thyroid cancer four years ago.  
“I was feeling very down and Zumba gave me my life back,” she said. “Just doing that workout for an hour made me feel free and took all thoughts away from my personal problems. I’ve been in remission but would still feel down until I began doing Zumba. It’s been years since I felt like myself and it’s been a blessing (discovering Zumba) in disguise.”

Robin Hoopii

First-time participant Robin Hoopii gave the fitness class a try Tuesday night.
“My daughter told me you just gotta go ma, but you’re gonna die!” she said with a giggle. “I love to dance so I thought I’d give it a try so that I can build up some energy and take off some weight.”
   Thank goodness Hoopii survived — and she plans on returning again for another lesson. The 45-year-old mother of five looked like she was having lots of fun in her first attempt at Zumba.

Joanne Vierra

Zumba regular Joanne Vierra, 54, joins the class three times a week and enjoys the feeling she gets from regular physical exercise.
“I just love doing it,” she said. “It makes me feel good. It’s not like normal exercise — this is way more fun.”
   Cobile and Forsythe believe that during a single Zumba lesson participants can burn, on average, 1,000 calories.

Byron Matthews

Not many men participate, but there are a few and some are regular members, like Byron Matthews who does all four days during the week.
   “I’ve been coming since May because it’s a lot of fun and a better cardio workout than most other activities,” Matthews said. “Guys might think it’s a real female thing, but it isn’t and they should come and check it out.”
   Matthews follows every Zumba class with an hour of weights in the gym and has high praise for the Zumba instructors.
“Cheryl and Dawnelle make us feel like family and they provide a very comfortable atmosphere,” he said.
“It’s a fun way to exercise and lose weight,” Cobile said. “We incorporate a variety of dance moves that also include rock and roll, and it’s nonstop.”
At Aunty Sally’s Luau House, or at the Civic, doors close at 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Then the lights are turned off, laser lights are turned on, and the music is pumped up as more than a 100 happy participants jump, laugh, bend and stretch, all to a lively beat.
The Zumba interval cardiovascular training replaces swimming multiple laps in the pool, or running continuously around an oval track, under the guise of Latino style beats and fast-paced dance moves.
“I like to run but when I discovered Zumba about two years ago, I decided to cross-train using Zumba twice a week and running three times a week to maintain my fitness,” Shigeoka said. “Zumba is way more fun than running by myself and it keeps me motivated to keep coming back.”
Zumba got its start during the 1990s in Colombia, South America. Since that time, Zumba classes have sprung up around the world and the Big Island can now boast of having a Zumba class in just about every district of the Big Island.
   More than 7.5 million people worldwide participate in a Zumba class each week, according to www.zumba.com
Forsythe and Cobile will be holding a free “Zumba Friends and Family Night” during the third or fourth week of each month. They would like to encourage people to come and discover the benefits of the fitness dance.
   “We want to give back to the community and have decided to have a free class each month,” Forsythe said.
For more information, call Forsythe at 990-3995 or email me: forsythed001@hawaii.rr.com

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment