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Zumba dancing the stress away

By Samantha Hiyler

Saint Vincent Zumba instructors Michael Gaul, freshman finance major, and Anna Mills, senior biology and Spanish double major, report that the number one reason they think it is important that the school offers programs like Zumba is to give students a broader exercise program and relieve stress.

“With Zumba […] you are releasing that stress by dancing, having a good workout, and just literally stepping into an environment where you can forget about exams, tests [and] studying for an hour and just be yourself,” Gaul said.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there has been a 31 percent increase in college students seeking appointments at counseling centers from 2009 to 2015 and, out of that increase, 45 percent of students report that it is for stress.

“I think it’s important that SVC offers exercise programs and classes to help students relieve stress in a fun way,” Mills said. “College is stressful. Exercise is important. Zumba is fun. It is an ideal combination.”

Having been a Saint Vincent Zumba instructor since 2016, Mills stated that she is pleased that Gaul has joined in teaching Zumba this year because they can brainstorm together and can cover each other’s classes when needed instead of just cancelling them.

Both instructors stated that a fluctuating number of students attend their classes, the average attendance being six or seven. According to Mills, numbers in attendees are usually lower during the winter.

The personal goals of the instructors are to help fellow students achieve a satisfying and challenging workout while also bringing fun into the stressful environment that college can be.

“My personal goal as a Zumba instructor is to empower every person that comes to my class to be whoever they are deep down inside,” Gaul said. “I want students to feel safe to be themselves when they come to my class.”

“I love Zumba because it gives me a way to get a strong workout while doing what I love most: dancing,” Hadley Ware, freshman integrated science major and regular attendee of Zumba, said.

Zumba is held every Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Activity Center.

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