There are so many different forms of exercise available yet not all of them are enjoyable. When you decide to exercise you need to ensure that it is something that you feel comfortable with, that you can enjoy, that you will excel at and most importantly something that will challenge you. There are many reasons why people decide to exercise – it could be for fun, to lose weight or just to keep active. One of the most enjoyable forms of exercise to do alone, in a group or with a partner is a form of dance. Let’s take a look at the different forms of dance available, the benefits of each and how to find a place near you where you can dance to your heart’s content.
Dancing is a full-body workout and can be just as beneficial as going to the gym! It can help increase your balance and co-ordination, as well as make you stronger and it is good for your heart. Research shows that a 30 minute class can burn almost the same amount of calories as jogging. The more up-beat the dance class, the better it is for your heart as it will elevate your heart rate.
Some of the most common forms of dance include ballet, tap, Latin and ballroom – each has its own benefits and we will discuss a few of these in greater detail below.
Ballet is an excellent form of exercise and the benefits are as follows:
- It promotes better posture and alignment which helps in day-to-day activities as well as ensuring that your muscles and bones stay strong.
- Ballet movements ensure that your muscles become firm and toned so that you develop long and lean muscles instead of thick and bulky ones.
- Ballet is a combination of Pilates and endurance training and helps with breath coordination throughout the dance sequences. Practicing ballet jumps and turns helps to strengthen the core and lower body.
- Many ballet exercises take place at the barre and this helps you to gain better balance, strength and poise.
- Whilst performing, you are able to relax your mind and shift your focus to the correct placement of your body, this ensures that your stress levels are reduced, and you are able to focus on your body and the exercise at hand and not on other concerns.
- The exercises and movements ensure a total flexibility workout as it uses static and dynamic stretching as well as using muscles that are not often used in other forms of exercise.
- Ballet can help burn calories and research shows that during a 90-minute session, a person weighing 120 pounds can burn about 200 calories in approximately 30 minutes which is then a total of 600 calories per session.
- It can help you interact with people and thus promote a healthier life as it is an opportunity to make new friends and grow together from shared experiences. Research shows that building strong relationships lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and illness.
Another great form of exercise is Latin and ballroom dance classes as it has the following benefits:
- It will increase muscle tone by forcing the dancers to resist their partner’s body strength. Fast turns, spinning and two-step moves can assist with building muscle strength.
- This form of dance is weight-resistance activity and thus can help protect bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
- It can help with knee recovery after surgery as it is lower impact exercise than jogging or biking.
- Ballroom dancing is a low-impact activity that helps if you have weak knees or you are not used to exercising. It will decrease you chances of exercise-related injury and promote a healthier lifestyle.
- Ballroom contains plenty of stretching and bending so the more you dance, the more flexible you will become.
- Dancing with a partner has proven to produce strong mental health benefits. Social dancing can help to prevent the onset of dementia and decrease loneliness for the elderly.
- Ballroom dancing can help you to burn between 200-400 calories per 30-minute session depending on your height and weight.
- Ballroom dancing allows you move your body to the beat of the music and release your emotions and thoughts through your artistic moves.
- It is considered cardiovascular activity and can thus can improve heart health, lower obesity and the risk of type 2 diabetes and promote lung capacity.
- Ballroom dancing helps increase your endurance. As the dance sessions get longer, you will be able to build up your stamina and dance for longer periods of time without as much fatigue.
If you feel that you would like to join a dance class in your area, find out which dance schools are near you, call them and ask what type of classes are available. You can always go and watch various classes and see which one is more suitable for you and your needs. If you belong to a gym already, there are various classes available, some of which include dance so you can enjoy a dance class and take advantage of your gym membership all at the same time.
If you are shy and prefer to dance with a friend or family member, take someone with you so that are more comfortable at first and after a while you will be able to socialise with the existing members of the class with confidence!
Please encourage your friends, family and yourself to attend a dance class if you want to burn calories and have fun but do not enjoy the standard forms of exercise such as jogging, cycling, cross fit or gym. After a few classes you will feel like you have been dancing for years, you will be enjoying yourself and you will be fit, healthy and confident!