It is a fitness craze that has swept the world.
But zumba has also apparently led to a spate of injuries in
New Zealand - so many, in fact, that it has cost the Accident
Compensation Corporation more than $780,000 in claims in the
past two years.
ACC received 781 claims for zumba-related injuries in 2011,
at a cost of $375,572.
That was a decrease on the 875 claims in 2010, which cost the
In 2009, just 16 zumba-related claims were made - at a cost
However, a Dunedin zumba instructor yesterday said the
numbers represented only a small number of the "thousands and
thousands" of zumba participants in New Zealand.
zumba is a latin-inspired dance-fitness programme, created by
Alberto Perez in the 1990s, which is now a feature at fitness
The Otago Daily Times has obtained the number of
claims and costs of zumba-related injuries, which ACC can
only identify post-2009 on its database.
Figures relating to the 2006-11 period show rugby (at
$306,409,587) was the biggest sporting burden for ACC.
Football ($124,143,889), netball ($98,343,398), snowboarding
($31,252,522), skiing ($66,489,777), horse riding
($61,099,045), mountain biking ($23,801,427) and dancing
($23,594,600) had all led to a significant number of claims.
The most common injury in the 2006-11 period was soft tissue
damage to the knee, which included bruises and sprains, with
Other common injuries were to the back, ankle, lower leg and
Less common injuries were to the face, chest and head.
Dunedin zumba instructor Emily Rutherford said she had taught
classes of up to 200 people, and regularly taught classes
with 25 to 30 participants, and had not seen many injuries.
To avoid injury, she emphasised the importance of choosing a
qualified instructor as "there's a lot of variety in
"The main thing people need to be aware of is to choose an
instructor carefully and make sure your instructor is
Stretching after exercising was also important. Zumba
instructors should be guiding participants through a "cool
down" after each session.
The 2011 decrease in the number of specific zumba claims
could be a reflection of the quality of teachers and the
stability of the phenomenon, she said.
"There was just a huge boom when it first started and every
man and his dog claimed to be a zumba instructor."