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Zumba

If you like dancing – or have two left feet but enjoy laughing at yourself as I do – consider Zumba. I tried a class at Goodlife in Toronto, but gyms across the country offer Zumba, as do many boutique studios.

According to the Zumba website, Zumba is a "fun and effective" dance fitness class that provides "A total workout, combining all elements of fitness – cardio, muscle conditioning, balance and flexibility, boosted energy and a serious dose of awesome each time you leave class."

It also says the classes are for "everybody and every body," so I figured why not test the theory and went with my mom, 63, friend and fellow triathlete Nate, 43, and Anna, a friend visiting from Germany, 19.

What to expect

Expect upbeat music and dancing, including salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, soca, samba, hip hop and tango – and if you can lean into the experience, smiles, cheering, a good sweat and possibly a few giggles.

Basic Zumba is an hour of dancing and more dancing. Iterations include Zumba Toning (which includes strength training), Zumba Core (targeting the core) and Zumba Gold (aimed at an older demographic).

A unique element of Zumba is that you receive very few verbal cues. The teacher shouts encouraging words and a few basic instructions, but mostly students watch and mimic. My mom loved this; usually she has to fight to hear instructions and ends up frustrated. Anna – whose first language is German – also appreciated that she could follow the class. If you like clear instructions you might find this "watch and do" approach frustrating.

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