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Advice on Zumba for Obese Beginners

By Kelsey Casselbury ; Updated January 02, 2018

If you want a workout that feels more like a party, Zumba might be right up your alley. However, as someone who's obese, you might be a little concerned about getting started. Good news: Zumba is accessible to everyone, no matter what size they wear.

In fact, if it's a dislike of exercise that helped you gain weight, a study published in American Journal of Health Behavior found that obese women with type 2 diabetes found Zumba so enjoyable that it increased motivation to exercise. It also helped with weight loss and decreased body fat percentage.

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As a low-impact workout, Zumba is a good workout for those who have joint problems stemming from obesity. However, be sure to modify a dance routine (or ask an instructor to help) if you find it painful on your knees, hips or other joints.

If you're ready to get grooving, don't be intimidated. Commit to Zumba, and you might find yourself loving your workout unlike ever before.

Read more: Waist-Slimming Dance Moves

Start Slowly

Any new workout is difficult, but the Latin-inspired dance steps can be a little tricky for a novice Zumba-goer. Don't feel that you have to keep up with the more-experienced dancers in the group. Do modifications when the instructor offers them, as it will help get your feet wet as a dancer.

Consider Videos

If you're not ready to dance in front of other people, try out a Zumba DVD first. It can teach you basic steps, so you don't feel like you have two left feet when you eventually move to a studio setting. Check out if any streaming services that you subscribe to offer Zumba videos or visit your local library to check for Zumba DVDs that might be available.

Bring Plenty of Water

When you're shaking it, you might forget to rehydrate. Don't make this mistake, though -- Zumba is a hard cardio workout. Obese people need more water than average-weight folks, research shows, and they're more likely to be dehydrated. Bring along a big water bottle to your Zumba class, and refill it as necessary.

Read more: Can Dancing for 30 Minutes a Day Help You Lose Weight?

Talk to the Instructor

The group fitness class teachers are there to help you. They want you to succeed. When you attend your first Zumba class, greet the instructor and let her know that you're a newbie. This shows that you're open to extra encouragement and feedback, and they will be sure to provide important modifications when necessary.

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