Zamano: Bringing Life to Zumba
Sophia Zamano has found her home at Cameron University helping its staff and students by leading Zumba classes.
Zamano is a Cameron graduate, certified Zumba instructor and disabled Army veteran. In December 2008, Zamano suffered a stroke, subsequently landing her in a coma she almost didn’t wake up from.
Afterwards, she had to undergo extensive rehabilitation and therapy. In 2010, she became a member at the local YMCA where she began Zumba classes.
“Never in a million years did I think that I would become a Zumba Fitness Instructor,” Zamano said.
Zumba became a stress release that gave Zamano a positive outlet, which impacted her health and life greatly. She was taking many prescription medications during and after her recovery, some of which included anti-depressants. Zumba became a way of life, it helped her overcome the need to use anti-depressants.
After all that she had been through, Zamano found self-fulfillment in helping others.
“There is a misconception about Zumba,” Zamano said, “that it takes great dance skills in order to participate and keep up, and that is not the case. There is no wrong move in Zumba; it is about positive energy, attitude and lifting one another up.”
Zumba is a full body workout. It is not only an aerobic exercise but also involves light weights for toning specific muscle groups.
The program was created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto Perez during the 1990s. He describes Zumba as “spreading freeing, electrifying joy,” and that it’s more of an emotion and a way to change the world.
According to the Huffington Post, 817 calories are burned on average during an hour session.
Zumba has been proven to reduce stress levels and offers social interaction that other conventional exercise may not.
Seven-Oaks Zumba conducted a survey among a group of its participants which revealed the following reasons for their joining Zumba classes: 31 percent take the classes for fun, 28 percent to keep fit, 24 percent to lose weight and 17 percent to make new friends.
According to the Zumba website, approximately 10 million participants take Zumba classes every week.
Cameron alum Gerald Alvin is a regular participant in Zamano’s class.
“I’ve been doing Zumba since 2013, and I am in training to become a Zumba instructor. I love it because it gives me a positive outlook in life,” Alvin said.
Zamano enjoys the impact that her classes have on her students which keeps her motivated to continue to learn and grow in her profession. Aside from traditional Zumba classes, Zamano is certified to train Zumba to children aged 4-12. She is also certified to instruct in the water and teach classes using weights.
The Zumba classes are offered from 7:30-8 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the Aggie Rec Center. For a low-impact workout, Zumba instructor Georgia Megehee conducts Aqua Zumba classes from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Zamano also volunteers her Zumba services at Rinehart Fitness Center on Fort Sill. She is a disabled veteran but insists that her disabilities do not define her.
A majority of Zamano’s students were at one point unaware that she provides her services for free on base.
“I do it because I love it,” Zamano said. “Zumba changed my life. Everybody likes different things but you will not know until you try.”
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