By Amanda Hatfield
MERRITT ISLAND -- A wildly popular fitness class has found appeal amongst all ages, including seniors.
Zumba, a fitness class that combines easy-to-follow dance and fitness moves, is choreographed to Latin and international music.
"What distinguishes Zumba from most exercise programs is that it is exercise in disguise," said Virginia Taylor, a Zumba instructor. "The experience is more like going out dancing with your friends, rather than an exercise class."
After receiving her Zumba instructor certification in September 2008, Mrs. Taylor has found that the class is highly popular with seniors.
"I teach a low-impact Zumba class at the Cape Canaveral Recreational Department -- that's seasonal -- and at the Veteran's Memorial Center in Merritt Island," Mrs. Taylor said.
Mrs. Taylor first taught a regular Zumba class at the CCRC, shortly after receiving her instructor certification.
"The class took a while to build up until January came along," Mrs. Taylor said. "That's when I started to get some snow-bird students. They started to tell their friends, and by the third class, the room was packed."
Shocked at how her Zumba class was catching on, Mrs. Taylor soon found herself teaching a second class for seniors in Merritt Island.
"All the passion and love I put into my classes comes back to me, two-fold, when I teach seniors," Mrs. Taylor said. "The music and dancing clearly makes them feel invigorated."
The best reward, however, is seeing the sparkle in her student's eyes.
"My goal in teaching seniors is also to make them feel excited about exercising and taking care of their bodies," Mrs. Taylor added. "We all need to make a conscious effort to take care of our minds and bodies. Zumba is a wonderful way to achieve both."
While those who have two left feet may be hesitant to attend her Zumba classes, Mrs. Taylor insists that Zumba is for everyone.
"We welcome people of all ages, sizes, abilities and fitness levels," Mrs. Taylor said. "I encourage all students to keep moving and have fun -- that's all that matters."
Virginia Taylor teaches low-impact Zumba at Veteran's Memorial Center on Merritt Island on Mondays at 9:30 a.m. and at Cape Canaveral Recreational Department, January through April, on Thursdays at 8:30 a.m.
Classes are $5 each.
For more information and a list of all Zumba classes taught by Mrs. Taylor, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (321) 506-2231, or visit www.virginiazumba.com