Exercise and fun: words that are not often correlated with each other but, upon reviewing research, we believe should be! Tanya Nieri, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Riverside, recently conducted a research study that looked into women’s experiences taking a Zumba® class. The outcome? Women who participated in Zumba classes report having fewer reservations, insecurities, and concerns about social judgment than in traditional group fitness classes. It’s no wonder that 15 million people in the world join the dance-fitness party every week.
Nieri, along with a team of research assistants, interviewed more than 40 women from Southern California who ranged in age from 18 to 68 years. The women came from different ethnic backgrounds, and the majority had taken other group fitness classes prior to Zumba. Two themes emerged from the study: First, that Zumba is fun, but exercise is not; and second, Zumba is dancing, but not exactly.
Women in the study associated other forms of fitness with the words boring, stressful, painful, and lonely. But when discussing Zumba class, they described it as stress-free, holistic, socially supportive, and natural.
The research, published in Sociology of Sport Journal, Nieri’s study, is “All About Having Fun: Women’s Experience of Zumba Fitness.” For the full article, click here.