Tai Chi vs Zumba : A Fitness Instructor’s Perspective

In Tai Chi on

Hi, I’m Chris Chin and have been teaching Tai Chi and Zumba for some years now in Sydney, Australia.
I have compiled the following comparing and contrasting my personal experiences post Zumba and Tai Chi workouts.

                                         ZUMBA                                     TAI CHI

Excessive sweating occurs depending on the intensity of the exercise. My body cools down very rapidly and the sweat feels cold on my skin. I have to make sure I keep warm quickly to prevent catching a chill.


Intensive sweating does occur especially when tai chi is performed using internal energy. Sweating is evident but comparatively, my body has a nice warm feeling to it. The warmth stays in my body for hours. Therefore, my sweat does not feel cold on my skin and no chance of catching a chill.

              HEART RATE  

Heart rate beats faster and more than normal resulting in anaerobic (inadequate oxygen intake) activity causing breathlessness depending on the intensity of the workout. In older individuals where the heart rate is comparatively slower than a younger person’s, decreased cardiac output results, leading to decreased oxygen uptake into cells causing breathlessness. Although this improves over time as the heart gets stronger, the cardiac output is not as adequate for cell metabolism.


Heart is in a relaxed state and always in an aerobic (presence of oxygen) state resulting in a more efficient cardiac output and comparatively greater percentage of blood sent to the cells to aerate them. Thus, cell metabolism increases with heat and energy production felt in the process. With efficient blood delivery to cells, cells are fed efficiently too, producing energy. I personally feel warm and more energised.


Heat experienced is intense on completion of the exercise but dissipates and is lost very quickly. I need to wipe off the cold sweat and dry off quickly to prevent getting a chill.


Heat experienced is more uniform within the body and the warmth stays comparatively longer in the body.

           FEELING OF
State of euphoria may be experienced with release of endorphins, but short lived.  

State of euphoria and relaxation experienced associated with noradrenaline release results in a more longer lasting state of state of relaxation and rejuvenation of the body aiding in self-healing over time. I always feel elated, like being on ‘cloud nine’ for the day.

         STATE OF MIND  

Fun and stress relieving. Movements are symmetrical and easy to learn and do not need too much practice to acquire the skills.


Serious, but very interesting art which takes a longer time to learn because movements are asymmetrical, harder to remember and learning takes much longer. Learning and remembering of the complex movements requires coordination of all limbs which uses various parts of the brain. When movements become automatic, new brain cells replace brain cells that have dwindled with age which helps promote brain plasticity, thus helps in the prevention of dementia.

         INTERNAL GAIN  

Zumba movements contain some internal benefits which can be gained from movements such as hip swirls, punches and kicks. Movements are fast and do not work the muscles or organs involved enough to promote much change internally other than losing some weight.


Tai Chi movements are subtle but promotes internal strength. Dantian rotation, breathing, imagery, and slow and controlled muscle movements build up internal strength and energy when accumulated over time with daily practice. Internal massage of body organs occurs with tai chi practice resulting in a significant improvement of one’s health in many ways. I personally have rheumatoid arthritis and tai chi is keeping my body mobile and pain free without any western medication.


Following a post-Zumba workout, appetite tends to be suppressed with feeling of slight nausea probably caused by oxygen deprivation of the gastrointestinal tract due to anaerobic activity. Normally, my appetite returns after a couple of hours.


I feel very hungry immediately post-Tai Chi workout due to internal energy circulation and increased cell metabolism.



Both Zumba and Tai Chi have similarities and differences:

 they both promote a good feeling internally

 promotes various physiological benefits in the body resulting in good health but the long-term health benefits of Tai Chi outweigh Zumba

 both focus on coordination of the limbs and engages the brain but Tai Chi is more complex and taxes the memory more. The internal benefits from dantian rotation and chi circulation is second to none

 learning of Zumba moves does not take long to acquire, however, learning and mastering the forms of one or more styles of Tai Chi requires endless lifelong learning;

 long live Tai Chi, after all it is known to promote longevity in life.

We offer Tai Chi and Wushu classes in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Contact us at 012-2211430 or email us at huayingwushu@gmail.com for more details.