Zumba Is World’s Most Dangerous Dance: Study

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It might make for a great workout, but Zumba is the world’s most dangerous popular dance, according to a study from Coventry University in the U.K. Published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, the study found Zumba dancers can expect an average of 3.9 injuries for every 1,000 hours on the dance floor. By comparison, salsa dancers experience up to 1.1 injuries during the same period, while the figure for other forms of aerobic dancing was 2.9.

The study also found women were more than twice as likely as men to suffer a dancing injury, while older dancers and those with high body mass were also found to be particularly susceptible to mishap.

Odds are though, if you experience a dance-related injury, then it might not be your fault. According to lead researcher Dr. Pablo Domene, most common dancing injuries are caused by partners treading on each other. He suggested dancers need to be more careful “not to collide with or step on other dancers,” and avoid “wearing open-toed shoes.”

Another major problem is dance floor “overcrowding,” which Domene warned can make injuries much more likely.

A salsa instructor himself, Domene said the new research illustrated the risks associated with common forms of dance like salsa and Zumba.

“Researchers have been investigating injuries in dance for many years to try to reduce the risk of people being hurt while performing – but until now no one has ever looked at salsa,” he told the Daily Mail.

“For us it seemed necessary to do this research using a large group of dancers, and from a variety of countries, to be able to provide comparisons in terms of injury rates, types and severity with other popular genres of dance,” he added.

What is Zumba?

First invented in the 1990s, Zumba combines fitness training and dance moves, usually accompanied by music ranging from hip-hop to salsa and merengue. Around 15 million people practice the dance regularly, according to work-out provider Zumba Fitness.

Some of the most common injuries you’re likely to experience during a Zumba session include ankle sprains, muscle spasms, hamstring problems and calf pain, according to physical therapist Luke Bongiorno.

“The brief warm-ups and lateral movements in Zumba can create conditions of instability,” he told the New York Times.

To avoid Zumba pain, Bongiorno recommended dancers ensure they have plenty of space, and take their time warming-up. He also advised investing in a good pair of closed-in shoes, but admitted sometimes injury is unavoidable.

“As with any fad exercise regime, we see an uptick in injuries,” he said.