Jennifer Oct 04, 2022 Interviews

America Ferrera likes to make the most of her workout routine.

“I love moving my body. I try [to work out] once a day,” Ferrera tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I think my relationship to moving my body and working out has really evolved, and I’m in a place where I just want to enjoy it. I want to have fun, I want to move because I can, because it feels good, and because it always makes my day better after I’ve done that.”

Sharing that dancing is her go-to way to stay in shape, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants star says, “Dancing has always been a huge part of my family life, even as a little girl.”

“[But] I think for a lot of people with children, it’s very, very hard to carve out time for anything that isn’t work and kids. I feel like in order for me to keep showing up for myself and moving my body in ways that I enjoy, I have to find those workouts that are not just me punishing myself and saying, like, ‘Okay, you have an hour. Go beat yourself up,’ ” Ferrera, 38, continues. “It’s less about that for me at this stage in my life. It’s more like, let me find time in the day to move my body because it feels good to me, and find joy in that.”

Ferrera’s love of dance has followed her throughout the years, according to the Emmy winner, who says she now incorporates her two young children — son Sebastian Piers, 4, and daughter Lucia Marisol, 2, whom she shares with husband Ryan Piers Williams — into her routines.

“We have family dance parties on Saturday and Sunday mornings, spontaneous dance parties, often to Latino music,” she says. “Ever since my first kid could stand up without our help, we have been having dance parties as a family … moving our bodies for the joy of it to music that we love.”

Ferrera reiterates that dancing is “something I grew up with in my household as a kid,” explaining, “I remember waking up on the weekends to very, very loud salsa music playing while my mom cleaned the house. You didn’t really have a choice: You had to clean, or you had to dance — and sometimes both at the same time.”

She adds: “So it just feels like [something special], passing on to my kids the gift of how much joy there is in moving your body to music that you love. It’s a tradition, and it’s cultural for me, so it’s really important to us.”

Ferrera has recently partnered with Zumba for its new Zumba Beginnings program, which the Ugly Betty alum says is a form of “self-care” for her.

“It’s so many of the things that I love when I’m looking for a workout — It’s fun, it’s high energy. I love anything that has to do with choreography because it takes my mind off the fact that I’m working out. And before you know it, it’s done, and I’ve done my workout for the day,” she tells PEOPLE.

Noting that she loves “a lot of things” about Zumba’s newest program — which is free and provides users with content to familiarize themselves with basic Zumba steps before taking part in mini-workouts at varying lengths — Ferrera says, “I can just open my laptop and stand up out of my desk and do a class.”

“It doesn’t have to be so brass tax and humdrum. You put in your time and get on with your day,” she continues. “You can have a great time doing it.”

“And anyone can do it,” adds Ferrera. “It’s not about being the best, it’s not about being a professional dancer or someone who works out every single day — anyone can do it.”

Source: People