I love Zumba. My children would say I am obsessed with it. Okay, perhaps. And I am certainly not the only one. So I’ve been pondering what it is about this Latin-infused dance workout that has changed my life. How is it that I have gone from dreading the gym to jumping out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off, ensuring that I’m the first one there and that I get the prized spot right under the fan . . .

Now, if you were wondering why I have stopped updating you on my new health initiative, it is not because I have fallen off the wagon. Au contraire. I am happy to report that I have continued to eat healthy (for the most part), and have consistently made it to the gym at least three times a week, sometimes up to five.

I have changed my perspectiveHave I lost more weight? Hmm, I wouldn’t know. I have not stepped on the scale for some time. For a while I was convinced my scale was broken, since no matter what I did, it seemed stuck. But I have changed my perspective. I am doing the right things. I am enjoying them. They are healthy and good for me. So that is ultimately all that matters.

What do I have to thank for all this? Zumba. Yes, my beloved Zumba keeps me energized, makes me stronger, and helps me be optimistic and motivated. And as I said before, I’m not alone. Zumba has its own style of music, communities of people devoted to it, even its own clothing line. What is it about this fairly new workout routine that has made it so popular?

I think I know.

And I think it is actually the secret not only to a healthy body, but to healthy relationships as well.

For those of you who have not yet heard of Zumba or tried it, here is the key difference: Unlike most workout routines that one does with music, Zumba is a routine that is set to the music. This means that you are not just doing knee lifts or arm curls with a beat that may quicken or slow while you keep your pace; the music itself is what is guiding you. You are not working out with the music, but to the music.

We often go through life doing what we want to do, what we need to do, what we think we should do, and we try to make it fit with whatever else is going on in our lives. Sometimes it works, and our pace fits perfectly with the beat. Other times the music starts to slow, and we are still trying to lift or kick at a much faster pace. So we just keep going, doing our own thing, and the music becomes background noise.

We all know parents who insist on parenting their second child the way they did the first. It worked for big brother, so surely baby sister will eventually adapt. But she doesn’t. She is moving to a different beat, but they keep going with their playlist, not hers.

Or in marriage: It is so easy to say or do what we would want ourselves, without thinking about what our spouse needs. Often, when a woman is upset she likes to talk it out. She needs an open ear, whether or not it is a convenient time. But when her husband is upset, he needs some space. Give him some time, and he will get over it. But we can fall in the trap where we do what we need, not what the other needs. So, while he is trying to sit quietly and think, she is busy trying to get him to talk. She doesn’t realize that his song is nice and slow and a warmdown; she is too busy doing a high-intensity cardio, even though the beat is just not there . . .

We are all unique. And the same approach is simply not going to work for all of usOne of my favorite concepts in Judaism is chanoch lanaar al pi darko, “educate a child according to his way.” We are all different. We are all unique. And the same approach is simply not going to work for all of us. Sure, we can try and force it, doing what we do and hoping that the beats will match up. But often they don’t. And when they don’t, we lose our momentum.

So this is my theory as to why people don’t like, but love, Zumba. We love to be fully integrated with what we are doing. When we move with the music, it doesn’t feel like work, because the music is carrying us. You find yourself focusing on every note, every nuance. And that focus, that connection, is what makes it so powerful. You can’t ignore the music, because there are no steps without that music. When the music stops, so do you. And when a new song comes on with a different pace, you adjust your steps accordingly.

While I know most people love the Zumba workout, love the intensity of the exercise, I really do believe there is something deeper there. And if I think that the Zumba message will make me a better wife, mother and friend, then all the more reason to do it.

Now if only every aspect of my life could be as coordinated as my Zumba moves . . .