If you're going to exercise in order to get fit, you might as well have fun while you're doing it.

If you're going to exercise in order to get fit, you might as well have fun while you're doing it.

That's an underlying purpose to the Zumba classes offered at the Grandview Center.

The Latin-inspired dance-fitness program "is like a big party," said Mary Ervin, who teaches the classes along with Sarah Pillon.

"We're having a great time, but it's also an incredible workout," Ervin said. "By the time you're done, you've worked up quite a sweat and burned a lot of calories, but you don't realize it because it's so much fun."

The class involves dancing to high-energy Latin music and international beats, she said.

"I try to mix in some belly-dancing elements and mid-eastern music as well as the Latin steps," Ervin said.

"It's a lot more fun than just doing aerobics," she said, "and the steps are so simple."

In addition to burning off the calories, the class also improves participants' coordination, balance and muscle tone, Ervin said.

Many of the participants in the Grandview Center's are baby boomers, but seniors enjoy the workout as well, she said.

The center offers four Zumba classes each week.

A regular Zumba class is offered from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturdays and advanced Zumba is offered from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

A Zumba Gold class, which involves lower-intensity exercise, is offered from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays and 8 to 9 a.m. Wednesdays.

A Grandview Center membership is required to participate in the classes. An annual membership costs $15 for Grandview and Marble Cliff residents, $25 for nonresidents. Participants 55 and older must also pay an annual session fee of $30; those under 55 pay a $60 session fee.

"Zumba is a great fitness program. You work hard and you have a lot of fun," said Columbus resident Sandy Eaton, who participates in the Zumba Gold class.

"Since I've been in the class, I've noticed my coordination has improved and especially my stamina," she said.

"The way Mary teaches the class, you're having so much fun, you don't even realize how much effort you're putting into it," said Phyllis Stavrides, who at age 79 may be the oldest participant in the Zumba Gold class.

"It's really helped my flexibility and balance," she said. "It just makes you feel good."