YOUTH MATTERS Laura Chase...Zumba proves a hot, hot, hot way to get fit and have fun

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In the past year I have noticed a rapid decline in my fitness level and lack the motivation to even contemplate starting regular exercise.

The smell of the gym and sweaty people who surround you is enough to put anyone off.

But, in my latest attempt to try something new and exciting, I stepped into the world of Zumba.

The Latin-inspired dance fitness craze seems to be popping up everywhere and targets every muscle group in the body. So it did not bode well that I lack rhythm and my coordination is as about good as a elephant on roller skates.

Having signed up, got advice on what to wear and left all dignity behind me, I was raring to go. When the music started my nerves turned to fits of giggles as I attempted to shimmer and salsa across the room.

My first apprehension of the mirrors that faced me soon faded as I watched the instructor carefully for every next move.

The guy in front of me was on the floor in laughter as I unknowingly followed the instructor across the room as she showed others the up-and-coming moves. I did not care, I was jumping to ‘Hot, hot, hot’ and numerous other tunes as the pace cranked up throughout the 50-minute session. It was great to see so many people of all ages joining in the class and panting just as much as I was.

Being the first fitness class I have ever done, it was no surprise I could hardly walk for two days afterwards. However if that is the only consequence of such a fun activity I will definitely be signing up for another session soon.

It has sparked a new-found light in my motivation and makes a great change from running outdoors. I would definitely recommend it to any fitness phobic person like me.

So get your trainers out of the cupboard and try Zumba soon. You never know what may happen...you might even enjoy it.