Through Zumba dancing, you will learn discipline

Exercising is not overrated. It is an essential need for any health-minded person and Caroline Angell, an agile, free spirited person chose Zumba dancing while there were several other options such as jogging. She says she was drawn towards Zumba dancing because the workout targets different muscle groups at once.

After making a resolution to remain fit and healthy, on January 3, 2017, she started hunting for a dance class within Kampala. However, despite being directed to three places, Angell was disappointed. Then, a friend directed her to Beats & Steps at Kisementi, Kampala for Zumba Classes and Angell says it was love at first sight so she signed up for the class.

Unaware of what to expect, Angell says she first faced a number of challenges because while she loves dancing, she quickly realised that Zumba was not just about dancing. It involved several choreographed dance moves that one had to remember. Additionally, every song had a different dance move and being her maiden class, she kept messing up the steps and at one point, she became frustrated. Thankfully, the instructors were very professional and kept encouraging her every step of the way which was very comforting.

So how did a bad start land Angell a trainer badge? Laughing about it, she says her journey to becoming an instructor was interesting. One of the key players here is the high motivation gained after the first class meaning she returned for the next two evening sessions that week. “Then I subscribed for membership and committed to attending Zumba classes thrice a week in the evening. I mastered literally all dance moves for the different songs and never missed a class until Beats & Steps officially closed. Thankfully, classes were moved to Speke Apartment in Kololo around June 2017,” she shares.

Then came the gold pot. On October 1, 2017, Angell was given an opportunity to become a co-instructor under Benita, the Zumba Instructor at Speke Apartment.  She continually challenged Caroline to be a better instructor by putting in all the work to learn from her superior. To say that she will forever be grateful for the opportunity is an understatement because Benita gave her a firm foundation. “Many people ask me how I became an instructor and I simply tell them it was fate! It was never my agenda when I joined that first Zumba class, I simply wanted to be healthy and physically fit.”

That said, Angell does not regret grasping that opening because it gave her purpose; an opportunity to change lives positively through weight loss, healthy motivational talks, and a platform to connect with people. As an instructor, she holds several hats and one of them is of being a role model to her clients, which means no room for slacking, excuses, laziness, or disappointment.

Angell says she has adjusted to the role because it comes with the territory. One of the moves was travelling to Kenya in 2019, where she got certified as a Zumba Instructor. Today, Zumba is a part of her that she cannot neglect, or even ignore and the journey has taught her a number of lessons.

Taking care of your body is necessary to build self-discipline. “Self-discipline is, without doubt one of the most important life skills one must have. To achieve it, you need to have the ability to control your emotions, body and mind. Regular exercise helps you build that character which in return will enhance other characters such as consistence, determination, and resilience.”

Angell believesthere is no limitation as to who can attend Zumba classes, unless one has a health complication and is advised otherwise by their doctor. With that said, she encourages everyone to try out Zumba dancing and enjoy its various benefits such as weight loss, body toning, stress relief, enhancing one’s mood, raising immunity, and boosting cardiac health.

She however notes that it is important to remember that one can get hurt or injured during the routine. “High energy dance classes like Zumba leave a lot of opportunity for getting hurt. With all the moving and jostling about, you could pull a muscle, strain a limb, or twist an ankle. It is, therefore, always important to know your limitations and wear the right shoes to avoid twisting the ankle.”

Keeping up with the times

However, the current times have greatly affected the industry, Caroline has adapted by keeping in touch with her clients via a WhatsApp group that she created for the class and additionally reaching out to them personally through phone calls.