The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) announce the ZUMBA and STRONG Nation communities as the recipient of the first Spirit of Fitness Award.

The award, presented during NASM’s and AFAA’s annual Optima Fitness and Wellness Conference, recognizes those who bring fitness to the global community and help build a healthier and happier world.

Laurie McCartney, President of Global Fitness & Wellness Solutions for Ascend Learning, the parent company of NASM and AFAA, presented the award as part of Optima’s welcome keynote address, a media release from NASM reports.

In addition to spreading the joy of fitness around the world, ZUMBA’s network of instructors and loyal participants are actively involved in a wide range of outreach campaigns. This year alone, ZUMBA partnered with The Global FoodBanking Network to deliver over one million free meals to families impacted by COVID-19. ZUMBA has raised over $5.7M to support important causes like the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Augie’s Quest for the cure of ALS, the release explains.

“At NASM and AFAA, we believe these challenging times present opportunities for all of us to rise to the occasion and demonstrate the best aspects of our humanity. The ZUMBA and STRONG Nation communities truly exemplify that spirit, and we are proud to honor them with this award.”

— Laurie McCartney, as told to the virtual Optima attendees

Alberto Perlman, CEO and Co-Founder of ZUMBA, accepted the award on behalf of the entire ZUMBA and STRONG Nation communities.

“When stay-at-home orders were first put into effect in March, we made it our mission to keep people moving, not only for a physical release but as a way to help with the stress and anxiety due to the Pandemic.

“Our incredible instructors around the world never missed a beat, learning the ins and outs of technology so they could deliver amazing virtual classes, and eventually teaching outdoor classes to keep their communities moving and connected, continuing to create joy in a time where we all have needed it the most.”

— Alberto Perlman

Founded in 2001, ZUMBA blends world rhythms with easy-to-follow choreography for an effective workout. Today, ZUMBA serves reportedly more than 15 million participants in 186 countries.

Launched by ZUMBA, STRONG Nation is a music-led, high-intensity training exercise class that combines bodyweight, muscle conditioning, cardio, and plyometric training moves.

As part of the Spirit of Fitness award, NASM and AFAA will provide 20 scholarships that ZUMBA will share with its instructors to support their commitment to continuing education, the release continues.

[Source(s): National Academy of Sports Medicine, Business Wire]

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