Purpose: Zumba fitness requires aerobic repetition exercises, involving the whole body including the spine. Our study is aimed at verifying whether this sport may cause low back pain.
Methods: Young healthy females were recruited. They were allocated to a "Zumba group" (n = 25) or an "inactivity control group" (n = 25). The Roland-Morris Disability, the Oswestry, the SF-36 and the Spinal Functional Sort Questionaries of all subjects were measured at the baseline (T0) and at 6 months (T1). During this 6-month study, the number of episodes of low back pain was recorded.
Results: At T1, improvements were seen in the "Zumba group." The "inactivity control group" showed worsening in each test at T1. The differences between the two groups were statistically significant for the items Role limitations and physical problems, Physical functioning, Pain and Social activity of SF-36 (p < 0.05). There were no any statistically significant differences in either group of episodes of back pain (p > 0.05).
Conclusions: We verified that Zumba is not responsible for low back pain. Furthermore, we revealed that Zumba can increase the normal functional activity of the spine. On the basis of this data, we can recommend the practice of this sport on a regular basis for the healthy population, without worrying about the risk of overloading the spine. Further studies are necessary to check whether the patients with chronic spine disease may practice Zumba.
Keywords: Fitness; Inactivity; Low back pain; Spine; Zumba.