Dance Your Way to Fitness, Health and Joy

Dance for fitnessHave you ever noticed that dancers have beautiful bodies, carry themselves with grace and look fit and flexible? It’s not only the looks, dancing really does make you healthier and stronger; a study done in Britain has found dancers to be fitter than swimmers in seventy percent of the fitness criteria.

This study compared the members of the Royal Ballet with a squad of swimmers at national and international level. The benefits are for everyone; not for professional athletes only, but also for the folk who dance for the fun of it.

Let me share a personal anecdote; whenever I conduct a dance class, especially at the end of a hectic day, I always end up feeling revitalized. It’s not just about some abstract long-term health benefits – the results are immediate, many students tell me that the hour they sweat at a dance class is the most enjoyable hour of their day.

The aspect of fun is what separates dance from other forms of physical exercise. The sensual indulgence of dance, in music and movements, also helps our mental well-being. While the direct benefit is from the increased blood flow to the brain due to invigorating activity, learning choreography, coordinating body movements and partnership skills makes your brain sharper in the long run.

The sense of belonging to a group, whether in the dance class or a social dance situation, helps one feel relaxed, at ease and fulfilled; resulting in less stress, depression, and loneliness. Whatever your reasons for starting to dance, this aspect motivates you to stick with dance and your fitness routine.

Whether it is the Salsa, Jazz or Hip hop-dancing strengthens and tones your body. But where it surpasses regular exercise, say jogging or cycling, is that it compels you to move parts of your body that you wouldn’t in normal exercise. For example the Samba, an exotic Brazilian dance, requires you to isolate and move your stomach, pelvic and lower back muscles. The control required in the progressive ballroom dances needs you to use your back, thighs and the derrière.

While the movements of the feet and arms seem the most visible, in order to hit a line, i.e. to generate the required action and visual impact, a dancer moves in whole, and continuously uses resistance from within ones’ own body. A newcomer would feel that a dance movement requires only a few muscles, but maintaining good posture and proper extensions are what really makes a dancer look good.

The energy spent on the poise results in a stronger core and better balance, whilst improving flexibility. No matter what shape or size you are, how young or old you are, dancing can help you to be stronger and happier. You can start slow – say join a social dance class for some light refreshing exercise, or join a dance exercise class where dance is used as a more intense aerobic workout. You can also do it at your own pace.

I always tell my students if a movement feels too fast or too difficult, do only what you can, don’t over exert. Then once you make dancing a habit, you will progress naturally, not only will your dance ability and fitness increase, you will have a bigger smile on your face.

This is an article writtenby DanceRevolt’s  Nipuna for the SundayObserver Youth Magazine. The published article can be found here.

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dancerevoltDance Your Way to Fitness, Health and Joy

Comments 4

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  1. Lia

    Hi 🙂 I want to dance to be slightly fitter, but Ive only danced in a class once before; that was bellydancing and I loved that. Do you offer anything that is similar to that? If so, Id like to know the fee and dates , thanks 😀

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      dancerevolt

      Hi Lia,
      I’m sure you’ll enjoy our classes, and they will help you improve your fitness. We don’t offer belly dance, but Latin dance offers a similar (perhaps more intense — depending upon the level).
      Please check out out classes here http://dancerevolt.com/lessons/ and contact us 🙂

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