Zumba Gold[R]: are the physiological responses sufficient to improve fitness in middle-age to older adults?

Author:Dalleck, Lance C.
Position:Letter to editor - Letter to the editor

Dear editor-in-chief

Zumba[R] is currently one the most popular group-based exercise classes in the world with an estimated 12 million people of all shapes and sizes participating in Zumba classes on a weekly basis (Luettgen et al., 2012). Previous research by Luettgen and colleagues (2012) has found Zumba to be a highly effective workout for young women of various fitness levels. It was reported that participation in a single Zumba exercise class burned on average 360 calories and elicited a heart rate response equivalent to 80% of maximal heart rate (Luettgen et al., 2012). Zumba Gold[R] is a modified form of Zumba that was designed to meet the anatomical, physiological, and psychological needs of seniors. However, to our knowledge there is no research examining the physiological responses to Zumba Gold in the older-adult population. Understanding the cardiovascular and metabolic responses to exercise is essential for designing safe and effective physical activity and rehabilitation programs. For example, it would be beneficial to understand the metabolic equivalent (MET) value associated with a Zumba Gold exercise class. A MET value would allow the quantification of Zumba Gold exercise intensity as low, moderate, or vigorous in nature, and hence, aid in establishing a safe and effective target workload. The lack of research concerning the physiological responses to Zumba Gold in middle-aged and older adult populations coupled with its increasing popularity prompted the present study. Therefore, the purpose of this study was (a) to assess the cardiovascular and metabolic responses to Zumba Gold and (b) to determine if Zumba Gold meets current guidelines for improving and maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness.

Sixteen men and women participated in this study. All descriptive characteristics of the participants are presented in Table 1. This study was approved by the Human Research Committee at Western State Colorado University. Prior to participation, each participant signed an informed consent form and underwent baseline testing.

All measurements were obtained on non-consecutive testing days. Day 1 consisted of the collection of individual physical and physiological measures and measurement of resting metabolic rate and the maximal exercise test. Day 2 consisted of assessment of the cardiovascular and metabolic responses to a 45-minute Zumba Gold exercise class led by a certified Zumba Gold instructor. Testing sessions were separated by 2 days...

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