Although Zumba is practiced by millions of people worldwide, there is a paucity of research about its potential benefits. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of Zumba on physiological and psychological outcomes in healthy women.
Cardiovascular fitness, body composition, physical self-perception and psychological well-being were assessed before and immediately after 8 weeks of Zumba performed 3 times weekly (Zumba group, n = 22, age: 26.6 ± 5.4 years old; height: 165.8 ± 7.1 cm) or no intervention (control group, n = 22, age: 27.9 ± 6.0 years old; height: 164.7 ± 6.2 cm). All variables were analyzed by a 2-way (Group × Time) analysis of variance with repeated measures, and a Bonferroni post hoc test. Pearson correlation coefficient assessed the relationship between changes in anthropometric, physiological and psychological variables.
Zumba provided significant positive changes in maximal aerobic fitness (+3.6%), self-perception of physical strength (+16.3%) and muscular development (+18.6%), greater autonomy (+8.0%), and purpose in life (+4.4%). No significant changes were observed in the control group. In addition, some psychological changes were significantly correlated to body fat at baseline, and changes in fitness.
These results highlight that Zumba is beneficial to improve fitness and well-being in healthy women, but does not change body composition.