Zumba provides alternative work out

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Sabers participate in a rarely-offered Zumba class Sept. 25. Zumba incorporates dance and fitness, allowing its users to burn between 700 to 800 calories an hour. The class may be offered more frequently to sabers in the future. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Staci Miller)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Sabers participate in a rarely-offered Zumba class Sept. 25. Zumba incorporates dance and fitness, allowing its users to burn between 700 to 800 calories an hour. The class may be offered more frequently to sabers in the future. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Staci Miller)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Lisa J. Hamlin, director of international military relations for the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, instructs a Zumba class at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center Sept. 25. Zumba is a mixture of latin, hip-hop, and reggaeton. It incorporates dancing and fitness, allowing its users to burn between 700 to 800 calories an hour. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Staci Miller)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Lisa J. Hamlin, director of international military relations for the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, instructs a Zumba class at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center Sept. 25. Zumba is a mixture of latin, hip-hop, and reggaeton. It incorporates dancing and fitness, allowing its users to burn between 700 to 800 calories an hour. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Staci Miller)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Lisa J. Hamlin, director of international military relations for the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, instructs a Zumba class at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center Sept. 25. Zumba is a mixture of latin, hip-hop, and reggaeton. It incorporates dancing and fitness, allowing its users to burn between 700 to 800 calories an hour. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Staci Miller)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Lisa J. Hamlin, director of international military relations for the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, instructs a Zumba class at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center Sept. 25. Zumba is a mixture of latin, hip-hop, and reggaeton. It incorporates dancing and fitness, allowing its users to burn between 700 to 800 calories an hour. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Staci Miller)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- About 80 people came to the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center to experience Zumba, a new fitness dance craze, Sept. 25. 

Zumba is a mixture of Latin, hip-hop and reggaeton. It incorporates dancing and fitness, allowing its users to burn between 700 to 800 calories an hour. Zumba began about seven years ago and is being taught at more than 40,000 locations in 75 countries. 

According to the official Zumba Web site, it all began by accident. Fitness trainer Beto Perez walked into his class one morning and realized he had forgotten his aerobic work-out tapes at home. The only music he had available was a Latin salsa mix tape he kept in his car. Mr. Perez improvised using non-traditional aerobics music and the class loved it. Zumba soon became the most popular class at his fitness facility. 

Lisa J. Hamlin, director of international military relations for the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, travels to military bases around the world to introduce Zumba to military members and their families. 

"The first month I taught Zumba, I lost 5 pounds. I have so much fun; I just don't realize I'm exercising," Ms. Hamlin said. 

The class began with a 10 minute warm-up, including an introduction of latin dance moves. Then things really stepped into high gear. The class looked a little lost at first, but quickly caught on. As some dancers gained confidence, they began moving towards the front. 

Capt. Jamie Fanning, 52nd Fighter Wing sexual assault response coordinator, enjoyed her first Zumba experience. 

"It was fun and challenging. I was able to dance while I worked out; what could be better than that?" Captain Fanning said. 

Zumba is for people of all fitness levels and ages. It can even teach its users some moves. 

"I do my own freestyle dance, so now I have some new moves to add in. This class is for everyone. You may not be as good as the instructor, but you'll get a good work out regardless," said first-time Zumba dancer Monica Rickert, wife of Staff Sgt. Joshua Rickert, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron. 

Ms. Hamlin held a second class Sept. 27 aimed at training participates how to instruct a class. A few people came away interested in instructing and are currently going through the process of possibly having Zumba added to the regular line up of classes available to Sabers at the fitness center. 

"They did really well. I really think they could teach this!" Ms. Hamlin said.