By Elizabeth DiAlto

We all know how important cardiovascular exercise is for our physical (and emotional) health, yet many of us struggle to find an enjoyable means. Maybe you watch the TV to avoid staring at the clock or “cardio hop” – 15 minutes on the treadmill, another 15 on the elliptical, maybe the bike for another 10 minutes – just so you can make it through the monotony and power through the 30-45 minute mark that you know your body needs. And while any exercise is better than none, enjoying it is even better – both because you’ll work harder and because you’ll be more likely to stick with it!

So, for those of you who hate doing cardio, instead, join a dance party – one that just so happens to take place at the gym.

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Regardless of your fitness level or whether you have any dance experience, if you’re interested in a heart-thumping, booty shaking, total body cardio workout, give Zumba a try. With a motto like “Ditch the workout, join the party!” it’s understandable how this fitness revolution has become an obsession for many loyal followers. Plus, who doesn’t dream of those post-“Dancing with the Stars” celeb bodies?

With simple choreography set to international music (think: Latin Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Reggaeton, South American Cumbia, Samba, African rhythms, American Hip Hop and even Pop), this unique class combines traditional dance moves with jumping, lunging, punching and other fitness inspired steps to ensure you work your muscles, break a major sweat (with absolutely no equipment) and, most importantly, have a blast!  Plus, with its ever-changing choreography, it’s plateau proof!

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For those of you who shy away from cardio dance classes because you’re intimidated by those who seem to actually know what they’re doing (don’t worry, we usually do too!), this is the perfect introduction to dance cardio since there are only two rules (and no dance recitals!). First, leave your ego at the door – no one cares what you’re doing, if you’re doing it right or how you look. You’re there to move and have fun! Second, bring your sense of humor – because you will feel silly or uncomfortable at some point, so just embrace it, have a good laugh at yourself and keep it moving! You might just find you love cardio after all.

Click here to find a Zumba class near you.

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