Zumba Gold, a low-impact version of Zumba designed for middle-aged and older adults, is ideal for helping much of its targeted demographic break a sweat and burn calories, according to a recent study sponsored by the American Exercise Council (ACE). However, the exercise may be too intense for certain “high-risk” individuals.
For the study, researchers from the Center for Wellness and Human Performance at Western State Colorado University outfitted 16 healthy men and women between the ages of 40 and 85 with biometric tracking devices. The participants engaged in a 45-minute Zumba Gold session, while the researchers monitored their cardiovascular and metabolic responses to determine whether or not the exercise met cardiorespiratory fitness guidelines.
On average, participants burned 197 calories per session, and most met the heart rate required for the exercise to be considered moderate intensity (40/50 to 85 percent of heart-rate reserve [HRR] or oxygen uptake reserve [VO2R]). In the study report, lead researcher Lance C. Dalleck called the exercise “ideal” for most participants.
In some instances, some participants reached a “vigorous” intensity threshold.
“While Zumba Gold is gentle enough for most older adults, some individuals experienced greater cardiorespiratory strain, which could be an issue if they are considered ‘high-risk,’” lead researcher Lance C. Dalleck said in the study report, citing those exercisers with cardiac disease or type 2 diabetes.
“Every form of exercise has the potential to pose some level of risk,” Cedric X. Bryant, chief science officer for ACE, said in a media release. “Zumba Gold instructors and fitness professionals must be alert and prepared to address class participants showing any signs of exercise intolerance such as lightheadedness or dizziness.”
Dalleck also reported that participants thoroughly enjoyed the dance exercise and that a lot of socializing took place during the session. This is a strength of Zumba Gold, the report said, as many individuals are deterred from exercise because they expect to not enjoy themselves.
“Ultimately, the key to developing a sustainable healthy habit of regular physical activity is finding a movement experience that is enjoyable, engaging and effective,” Bryant said. “Zumba Gold appears to meet those criteria for many of its participants.”
Older adults are the least-active demographic, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, heightening their risk of developing numerous chronic diseases.