Ouch! When good zumba goes bad...

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 corporation $405,375.

In 2009, just 16 zumba-related claims were made - at a cost of $5629.

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 centres internationally.

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 417 claims.

Other common injuries were to the back, ankle, lower leg and neck.

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 instructors".

"The main thing people need to be aware of is to choose an instructor carefully and make sure your instructor is legitimate."

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."

Zumba v rugby

In my opinion people do not need another reason not to exercise.

Being sedentary is the number one cause of death and disease in both developed and non developed countries... how about we do a cost benefit analysis for the benefit of all of these people who are being active by participating in Zumba?

Furthermore in relation to rugby, the costs in ACC related claims is minimal. It is not a wonder that people are apprehensive to start excercise when one media source says 'push play for 30 mins a day' and another source warns of the dangers of exercise!


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