Zumba has been around for a while, but in my experience the popularity is still growing. There are many people who have been looking for a fun way to get a great workout without realizing afterwards that an hour has flown by. Zumba offers the ability of having a great, full-body, calorie burning workout that is also very fun and social! If you are thinking about starting Zumba, there are a few foot-related considerations that you will want to address. If you are already a Zumba veteran, you will still find some useful information to prevent injuries that could cause missed Zumba sessions later.
Zumba workouts traditionally involve a variety of latin and american dance moves. Many of these dance moves require side-to-side motion and quick stepping, hopping and turning. Since most of us, typically, do not perform a lot of side-to-side walking throughout our normal daily routines, we are already placing new demands on our feet than usual. Visiting a podiatrist before beginning Zumba classes allows your doctor to identify your particular foot type, assess your baseline strength and balance, and assess your risk of injury. A simple gait analysis gives us clues to how well you will transition into your new workout!
Critical to beginning a new exercise program is the type of shoegear. There are a lot of different shoe types out there and the differences that you may not appreciate between shoes can be the difference between a healthy workout and injuries down the line. There are many cases when Zumba is the first exercise that a person has attempted in months or even years. Don't just grab the old pair of athletic shoes out of the closet and wipe away the cobwebs! Make sure your shoes still have adequate support to keep your feet well aligned under the ankles. Also, shoes with adequate cushioning for shock absorption. Regular running shoes are not cut out for the job of Zumba. Running shoes are for running and therfore do not have the ability to support the foot and ankle in side-to-side motions.
Don't skimp on the stretching! Once you have made it through the workout, don't race to the locker room to avoid the crowd. Stay and complete the cool down and perform stretching afterwards to prevent tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. After placing high demands on the muscles and ligaments in the body, stretching allows rest and helps expedite recovery of muscles so that you feel ready for your next Zumba class!
A quick visit to Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic can help to ensure that your new endeavor is safe and successful. Call today to make an appointment and we'll be there to ensure your feet stay happy and healthy!