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Showing posts with label Dancing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dancing. Show all posts

15 Health Benefits of Dancing

Dancing encourages freedom of expression and you don't need a lot of motivation to do it.

Dancing is a great cardiovascular activity.

Dancing is fantastic for weight loss.

Dancing is easy on joints and ligaments.

Dancing builds strength.

Dancing improves endurance.

Dancing improves co-ordination and reflexes.

Dancing improves posture.

Dancing supplements other physical activity and is great for cross training.

Dancing is great for social events (parties, weddings).

Dancing improves self esteem and body image.

Dancing helps you get a good night's sleep.

Dancing lowers the amount of toxins in your body.

Dancing helps to bring a shy person "out of his/her shell".

Dancing prevents / reduces Alzheimer's disease.


Dancing is FUN for the whole family!

Dance Aerobics on the Treadmill

For all you dance fanatics out there, here is something for your amusement. :)

Belly Dancing for Exercise

Belly dancing (and any kind of dancing for that matter) is a great way to get extra cardio into your exercise routine. Especially since its fun!

It is really only popular for women (not too many male belly dancers out there...), but it is a really engaging way to exercise and build up your core / abdominal muscles.

Indeed, belly dancing can help you lose weight and burn as many calories as more strenuous exercises like cycling or running, as long as the workouts are consistently challenging and you are moving around a lot. Thus belly dancing can make for a really intense workout if you have the energy to try it and stick with it. Thankfully it is also fun, so your lack of skill at the beginning doesn't really matter as you will quickly get better at it as you progress.

If you think that you would like to try belly dancing as a form of exercise, don't be intimidated. Look for a good instructor who will keep you moving and having a good time.


#1. Dress the Part

The lavish Eastern costumes are part of the authenticity of belly dance classes. You may feel weird wearing them at first, but its part of the fun too if you get a chance to perform. Call the studio or instructor ahead of time to see what patrons usually wear to class. You may just wear regular workout/yoga gear, but some  instructors may ask you to come in costume. A basic costume could include yoga pants, a hip scarf for emphasis, and a midriff-baring choli so that your instructor can see and help you with the movement of your hips and posture.

#2. Get In Character

You'll get more out of your belly dance exercise classes if you release your inhibitions and get in character. The more movement you get through your hips and thighs, the more beneficial the class will be. Think of your class as a performance and just have a good time. Don't worry about how you look or if you're making a fool of yourself - part of the appeal of belly dancing is how exotic it looks anyway, so its bound to look weird. Belly dancing is more beneficial when you are giving it your total effort without being self-conscious.

Side Benefit - Belly Dancing boosts your confidence and decreases shyness.

#3. Loose Joints and Posture

Belly dancing focuses on the abdominal and hip region, so when you begin to learn to belly dance, it may seem strange to you to move those areas so freely. Keep your joints soft so that they can flow freely, while keeping your spine straight and your head up. Keep your shoulders back at all times, with your tailbone dropped to the floor. Over time if you practice proper form this will become easier and second nature for you, but in the beginning you will need to pay attention to your form.

Exercises for Preventing Dance Injuries

There is actually quite a few "Exercises for Preventing Dance Injuries"... And this blog post will only cover a few of them.

For a more complete list I recommend reading the book "Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers" by Donna Krasnow + Jordana Deveau.

Now understanding of course that this book is written for dancers (ballet, etc) it does have a fair amount of dancing jargon and lingo in it. But that doesn't mean the book isn't useful for other things too. Yoga, aerobics, gymnastics and preventing general sports injuries by increasing strength and flexibility in joints.

Within the book the chapters are broken down into parts covering everything from warm up, legwork, flexibility, "Developpe and Rond de Jambe", turnout, extensions, strength and stretches. Plus of course the introduction and appendix.

The good news is that even though I don't know what "Developpe and Rond de Jambe" is, the book is highly illustrated with multiple photos on every page. Not kidding. The book is 158 pages long and has (I am estimating) about 400 photographs in it showing all the poses. The images shown here is just a tiny sampling of what is inside the book.

That said, trying to review this book accurately is a bit like trying to review the bible or bhagavad gita. Nevertheless I will try to summarize ONE section of the book.


90% of the exercises in this book takes place on your back so you will probably want a yoga mat if your floor is dirty. "Warm-Up" begins with a Neutral Pelvis Lesson:

"Start by lying on the back (supine) with the arms and legs extended, arms at the sides of the body. Focus on allowing the breath to be natural and the body segments to lie easefully with as little tension as possible. While inhaling, imagine the breath filling the body, and sense how it releases tension in the muscles on the exhale. Image the pubic bone directly above the tailbone (coccyx), and the back of the head, rib cage, and sacrum heavy and in contact with the floor. there will be spaces under the neck (cervical spine) and low back (lumbar spine), due to the natural curves of the spine. This organization of the pelvis is neutral pelvis in the supine position."

Easy to understand and you probably just learned some new words for various body parts. It helps that the authors used both the layman's terminology and technical jargon.

In the following paragraphs on Parallel Legs Sliding, Side to Side Rolling and 3 more warm-up exercises the authors are very detailed about exactly how to do each exercise so that anyone with a firm grasp of English will understand it even if they aren't experts at the lingo.

On the sides of the paragraphs there are also helpful tips for how to visualize what you are doing so you understand it more perfectly. (Kudos on the attention to detail!)

The end result in the book is a series of very pricise exercises designed to increase flexibility and muscles in various areas of the body, especially those which dancers often develop injuries. If I was a professional ballet dancer I would consider this book and its exercises to be a regular part of my exercise routine.

I will be posting more exercise book reviews in the future. Please subscribe / follow this blog and return for more. :)

Dance Cardio = More Fun with Friends

Do you need more motivation to do cardio?

One way to get your cardio in would be to go dancing. And it doesn't have to be the dance clubs with the young energetic alcoholics. You can get a pretty good workout by taking tango, salsa, waltz and ballroom dancing classes.

If going outside and sweating in front of other people sounds embarrassing there is also plenty of YouTube videos which can help you (some of which are more exercise oriented and some which are more how to guides).\

Another fun thing you can do is join a local flash mob group (singing and dancing in public locations). Like this one at Toronto's Eaton's Centre.

For those looking for more of a challenge they might also try out figure skating and synchronized swimming.

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