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Zumba is a dance-based routine that is aimed at improving fitness.
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When choosing what type of exercise to do, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. These include the effectiveness of different forms of training, how suited a certain method is to your goals and also what you enjoy doing. Zumba and kettlebells both have their pros and cons, and although neither is categorically better than the other, one may suit your needs more than the other.
Zumba is based around latin music and dance moves and takes place in a group class environment. The mix of fast and slow rhythms effectively makes Zumba a form of interval training, and regularly attending sessions can improve your cardiovascular fitness. Plus, it burns calories, helping you lose weight. Add to this that one of the aims of Zumba is to make each session enjoyable and you may be more likely to stick to a Zumba workout plan than visiting the gym on your own. Zumba caters to all levels, too, and regardless of your fitness level, you'll burn calories and get an effective workout, notes Mary Luettgen, researcher at Wisconsin-La Crosse's University's Department of Exercise and Sport Science.
Kettlebells are orb-shaped iron weights with a handle on the top. If you want to combine cardio and strength training, kettlebells are an effective choice. Rather than performing a strength session, then hitting the treadmill, you can use kettlebells and accomplish both workouts in one, according to Michael Shade, kettlebell instructor at Sports Club/LA in Miami. Kettlebell workouts trump standard weight training in terms of calories burned per session and more than meet the requirements for increasing cardio endurance, reports the American Council on Exercise.
Zumba isn't for everyone. Although the routines are designed to be for people of any level and should be easy to follow, you may have difficulty picking up the coordination require to get the most from each class. The same goes for kettlebells -- the techniques can be challenging to master even if you have a weight-training background, so you may require the help of a qualified instructor.
Both Zumba and kettlebells can get you fitter, burn calories and help with weight loss. If your goals are strength-based, kettlebells are a better choice as you'll build muscle mass with these, but if you're just after a fun way to work out and socialize at the same time, Zumba is for you. Better still, combine both for best results. Perform two total-body kettlebell workouts each week, mainly using lower repetitions and challenging weights and two Zumba sessions to boost your fitness and endurance. Always check with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.