Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How many calories do you burn in a Zumba Fitness class? A heart rate monitor is a great way to find out your real number!

Students often ask me, at the end of class, how many calories I have recorded on my Polar heart rate monitor.

I typically burn anywhere from 650 to 1000 calories in and hour of Zumba, depending on my energy level that day, and the number of minutes of cardio in the class. The number of calories burned over the course of an hour of Zumba will vary based on many factors: your level of effort, of course, but also your age, height, weight, and sex.

Because all these individual factors come in to play in determining how many calories you burn doing Zumba, I highly recommend that students invest in a heart rate monitor of their own. It is very motivating to have a “concrete” number of calories you have burned at the end of the hour.

There are so many heart rate monitors out there, it can be overwhelming trying to choose. Many have sophisticated technology and features that can even include GPS, pedometer, fitness tests, and more. Personally, I was just looking for a simple device that would read my heart rate and calculate the number of calories burned over a session of exercise, and that's it.

For this purpose, I love the Polar FT7, available on Amazon in a variety of colors. It’s simple to use, not excessively pricey (price varies between $59 to $100 depending on color), and gets the job done beautifully. It comes with a sensor that attaches to an elastic strap that you wear around your rib cage. The sensor sends your heart rate readings to the watch, which calculates your total calories burned. I start it at the beginning of the hour, and stop it at the end and get my reading of calories burned. Both the sensor and the watch have replaceable batteries, and when the strap wears out you can buy a new one for about $15.

If you are carefully tracking your food intake and exercise expenditures, or if you just want feedback on your workout and the satisfaction of seeing how many calories you burned having fun with Zumba, I absolutely recommend making the investment for a heart rate monitor of your own!

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