Zumba, a calorie-burning dance-based workout, isn’t just good for young people. It may also be an ideal exercise for older adults, too, according to a small new study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise.
In the study, 16 healthy men and women with an average age of 63 wore biometric tracking devices and took a 45-minute class called Zumba Gold, a lower-intensity version of Zumba designed for seniors. The researchers wanted to know whether Zumba Gold could maintain and improve cardiorespiratory fitness in this older age group.
It did. People burned close to 200 calories in a single Zumba Gold session, and their heart rates were high enough for the session to count as moderate-intensity exercise. The researchers concluded that one Zumba Gold class can spur “cardiovascular and metabolic responses that fulfill exercise intensity guidelines for improving and maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness.”
Since the study only tested 16 people taking one class, it’s too small to draw wide-reaching conclusions. But it is not the first to suggest that Zumba offers a range of benefits, from improving balance and strength to boosting self-esteem.