Many students at the University of Maine stay fit by visiting the New Balance Recreation Center and attending one of the dozens of fitness classes they have to offer. Every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Recreation Center, second-year student and personal trainer Anna Kay teaches a weekly Zumba class.
“Every time I teach this class, it always pumps up and elevates whatever mood I’m in. I can never leave upset or down on myself,” Kay said. “This is such a positive environment, and we are all in it together. Everyone is inspiring each other and working hard. Every single person has a smile on their face and that’s really what I strive for when I teach group exercise classes.”
Zumba is a dance, aerobic-fitness class centered around different mixes of Latin American dance and performance styles. The music can vary depending on class size, type and location, but often incorporates Latin American music. Zumba first started in the 1990s when Colombian fitness instructors started teaching dance fitness classes using Latin dance music. Kay’s class provides a 45 minutes long medium intensity workout that also includes warm-up and cool down stretches.
“The classes are always a lot of fun and fill up quick. The time goes by so fast and you don’t ever realize you are exercising, but you get an amazing workout,”Ally Cyr, a third-year human development student and lifeguard at the Recreation Center.
Zumba is a dance class that is popular all over the country. Gyms and independent Zumba facilities across the nation offer a variety of classes and instructors for people who seek an alternative workout. Other recently trending types of fitness classes include SoulCycle, Crossfit and barre. Each has been created and inspired by a passion for making exercise more enjoyable, upbeat and fun.
“The music is energizing and the moves work to target areas many adults want to work on. It’s very relaxed and laid back, while also being fun and like one big dance party,” Linette Diodato, a local community member, said.
Kay changes up the routine and songs each week in order to add variety for the people who regularly attend each class. Some of the songs include titles by Drake, Imagine Dragons, Pitbull and many other modern artists.
“I always just tell people to have fun and let loose. If you don’t know the choreography right away, or don’t get the hang of it, just give it some time,” Kay said. “Group [exercise] is an awesome opportunity to get inspired in a group environment, working out with other people pushes you to work harder and better.”
Zumba costs $5 per class for students, or students can purchase a Fit Pass at the Recreation Center for $35. The Recreation Center offers dozens of other classes, both free and paid, throughout the academic year and summer term. Students and staff instructors can apply for various instructor positions and openings at the Recreation Center including personal trainers, lifeguards, maintenance staff and class instructors.
“I haven’t taken many fitness classes yet because the timing hasn’t been right,” Liz Murray, a first-year environmental horticulture student, said. “But I really love going to the Rec Center. It gives me the chance to go and workout a couple of times a week with my friends.”
The UMaine Recreation Center gives students an on-campus opportunity to play sports, use the fitness equipment and take classes. Students and members can take advantage of day passes and memberships, pool usage and locker room storage available.
“I really love the variety and choices of programs to pick from here. There is really something for everyone, no matter your fitness level or preference,” Taylor Chomitz, a second-year psychology student, said.
Other types of classes at the Recreation Center include lifting exercise classes, spinning/cycling, interval training, aquatics and more. One of them includes Hip Hop Hype, a free dance class on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Kay teaches Zumba, HIIT It and Hip Hop Hype classes during the week.
“We have so many group ex classes that we offer, and they are all so different. Zumba is something I always love doing, and I love sharing that with people,” Kay said.
To learn more about the classes offered at the Rec Center or to see the class schedule, please visit https://umaine.edu/campusrecreation/facilities/reccenter/.