Soundtrack of My Life: March 22

We’re hours away from the premiere of the highly anticipated movie “The Hunger Games.” I can barely contain my excitement, so I will channel that energy into a post.

These are the songs I can’t stop playing this week. They capture the essence of the warm temperatures sweeping across the Midwest mixed with the gloomy drizzle.

Here it goes.

1. “Eyes Open” by Taylor Swift: The Hunger Games soundtrack was released on March 20, and with its release came another song by Taylor Swift. This song is different than the first song released from the soundtrack, “Safe & Sound,” and her normal sound — It’s slightly more rock. “Everybody’s watching. Everybody’s waiting for you to break down.”

2. “Feels Good At First” by Train: I’m still not over “Drive By.” This is the first single from Train’s album titled “California 37,” which can be pre-ordered on iTunes. It will be released on April 17.

3. “Gypsy” by Shakira: This song was introduced to me in Zumba class for our cool down dance routine. I immediately fell in love with it. Any description I write of this song wouldn’t do it justice. Have a listen for yourself.

4. “Stars and Boulevards” by Augustana: Spring makes me reminiscent of the past and the person I am today. A few years ago, I was obsessed with Augustana’s “All The Stars and Boulevards” CD, which is why I have started listening to this song again. Enjoy!

5. “Starships” by Nicki Minaj: Every time Nicki releases or is featured on a song I can’t help but love it. Starships is no exception. It’s perfect for rollerblading down the sidewalk as the sun shines. Enough said.

What songs do you have on repeat?

Happy Hunger Games!

Zumba: The Best Workout You’ve Never Had

Not a professional dancer? Never taken a dance class? Afraid you’ll never be able to salsa or merengue?

Well, here’s some good news for you. I am neither a professional dancer nor have I ever taken a dance class. While many young girls laced up their ballet slippers and twirled across the dance floor, I laced up my softball cleats and  headed out to the softball field in hopes of striking out my opponents. And guess what, I can salsa, merengue and get a completely different workout. The best news of all–You can, too!

A 45-minute Zumba dance session can burn between 400 to 500 calories, according to Shape Magazine. While the moves are repetitive, it’s a great cardio workout paired with fun, upbeat music. To be honest, I often forget I am working out.

“The moves are very simple and repetitive so all you have to do is listen and follow the instructor,” said Julie Kelly, a Zumba instructor and certified trainer, according to Shape Magazine. “Zumba really works your core because the Latin dance moves specifically target the abdominal area.”

Still not convinced? Here are three of my favorite Zumba workouts from YouTube:

1. “On The Floor” by Jennifer Lopez

2. “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 Featuring Christina Aguilera

3. “Waka Waka (Time For Africa)” by Shakira

Are you convinced now?

Let’s get active and celebrate our bodies! If you miss a step, laugh it off and keep going.

For more information on Zumba, visit the official Zumba website.

Zumba in the media: