Exercise & fitness

Zooming into Zumba – a personal review

03 Mar 2022 | Written by By Lindsey Betteridge

Unmotivated, unfit, overweight, incapable, camera shy. I was all of these (and still am to some degree). So what happened when I booked on to the excellent live exercise classes available through The Joy Club? For any of you lovely members who are feeling just as hesitant as I was, here’s a through-the-keyhole look at my experience.

In 2017, although I worked from home I had a once weekly commute into the office in London, involving lots of station steps to run up and down and a nice stride along main roads to the tube. Together with taking walks, this kept me generally active and reasonably flexible. Then in 2020 along came Covid and all our worlds changed. I put on weight during Lockdown, not quite the ‘Covid stone’ but not far off. I finished work in June 2020, deciding to take a break but knew I had to get moving again and build up some sort of exercise plan. 

But, you know, Covid… Walking is great but it doesn’t necessarily get your heart rate up. I obviously didn’t have the option during Lockdown to go to a live exercise class and to be honest I don’t have the confidence to do that even if I could have. Whilst I could watch exercise classes on YouTube (God bless Joe Wicks) I could just as easily turn them off after 10 minutes, so this didn’t give me the accountability that I need.

Then for Christmas 2021 I received my membership to The Joy Club as a gift from my lovely daughter and son-in-law, it was a complete surprise. She knows I’m not much of a social mixer and knew I’d be interested in a lot of the online expert speaker sessions but more importantly, she hoped I’d be confident enough to give the live Zoom exercise classes a go.

The first session I booked was Seated Zumba. I hadn’t attended an exercise class of any kind for probably 15 years so I needed to take it easy. I really enjoyed it but by the end I’d decided I was probably capable of the standard Zumba session and booked those instead.

The wonderful instructor Philomena has a great teaching style. She’s enthusiastic, encouraging and positive while her class is fully inclusive for people of all abilities and she will advise you what to do if you have any disabilities, injuries or ailments. You are never pushed to do more than you feel capable of and everyone else in the class is reassuring and supportive. It’s all such great fun and the perfect way to get your heart rate up without overdoing it. Unlike me, some members are fit and active anyway, but I’ve never experienced anything that made me feel less capable. The exercises together with the great music leave me feeling energised and refreshed and now, after 6 sessions, I’m much more motivated, feeling more flexible and the class gets a little easier each week.

There’s always the opportunity for a short Q&A at the end for people to ask any questions about the exercises and Philomena is very open to this and really helpful with her responses. So for anyone out there who feels you may not be capable, if I can do it, then anyone can!

If this has helped to reassure anyone in some small way and you fancy giving Zumba or Seated Zumba a go, remember you don’t have to turn your camera on if you don’t want to, you don’t have to complete the whole session, you can just watch if you wish (but I’ll bet you can’t do that without wanting to join in!) and nobody will be judgemental. Just make sure you let the Community Team member or Philomena know you are there and that it’s your first session and you’ll be grand.


P.S. The weekly Zumba classes encouraged me so much that I didn’t stop there. I now also do the weekly Tai Chi class and the monthly Pilates and Yoga classes. Oh and I did the Belly Dancing lesson too!

[Below is a snapshot of Lindsey’s current line-up of booked events!]


Will you be giving Zumba a go? Do you have any questions about it before booking your first session? You can share your questions and thoughts in the comments below.

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