For some, dance is a passion and a form of expression. For others, it’s cathartic. Either way, it gets the adrenalin pumping and creates feelings of happiness. As well as the more emotional meanings behind dance, it is also a great way to work out. Most forms of exercise can be tedious, tiring, and just plain boring. Dancing, however, is great fun. Chances are you’ll enjoy yourself so much that you won’t notice the time flying. One hour of dancing will seem like a mere ten minutes!
Though great for fitness and weight loss, dance workouts are not a substitute for strength training. But if it’s cardiovascular exercise you’re looking for, this is the workout of choice. When you factor in its stress-reducing properties (as well as the chance to work away your extra left foot), the deal seems even more attractive. And speaking of attracting, taking your spouse or partner along is a good way to bond and connect. How many more reasons do you need to dance the night away?
You & I has done some research to discover which dance forms are most effective, as well as their respective benefits:
The latest craze to hit the fitness scene is Zumba, and the buzz is all over the place. It combines a number of swift techniques from styles like salsa, reggae and Merengue, and this craze is rapidly gaining in popularity. The strong Latin influence is evident in Zumba’s passion and pace.
Zumba can help alleviate back problems by straightening and exercising the spine. Its fast pace and energetic nature make it a natural calorie-burner, and Latin beats make it fun to do. Many fitness clubs offer Zumba classes with trained instructors, helping you to lose weight and get in shape. Because of its energy and diversity, you can practice Zumba at any level.
One of the most sensual dances around, Salsa is symbolic with fitness and passion across the world. It makes use of your whole body, so it’s a workout and a half. As with most Latin dances, Salsa has a fast pace, and both sharp and smooth moves. Doing the Salsa can really work your legs and hips, improve your posture and tone your body.
It’s quite common with young girls in the West, but did you know that ballet is a splendid way of getting in shape? Athletic and elegant, this dance form may seem ineffective for building fitness, but it does so better than most workouts. It may not be as fast-paced as the Zumba or as hot as the Salsa, but ballet builds greats strength, effort, discipline, balance and flexibility. It draws on every part of the body, including the tips of your fingers and toes.
The traditional Punjabi dance form has become so widespread that it’s even being taught at fitness studios. If you think about the kind of energy that goes into a rigorous Bhangra, it makes sense why everyone’s hopping on the bandwagon. Bhangra workouts involve a lot of steps that exercise the upper body, and while a majority of the moves involve hand gestures, it engages the entire body (especially the joints). Shoulders and wrists get a great workout with this pacey, energetic dance.
Have you heard of ‘Jazzercise’? As the name suggests, it combines jazz and exercise, mostly aerobic steps. Not as high-powered as some of the other forms we’ve mentioned here, jazz entails quick moves and sharp steps that focus on performance and posture. What’s most active during jazz dancing is the torso, in particular the hips.
Tap dancing is great way to get fit for obvious reasons. With taps on the toe and heel of the shoe, foot movements are a big part of this dance form, which is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise.
Certainly not the easiest thing to learn, belly dancing is all about the hips. It’s done at a relaxed pace, but the movements really tone your abdominal muscles. Belly dancing also does wonders for confidence and self-esteem; you can’t help but feel your sexiest!
Hemalata Rathi, CEO of Soul Beauty and Wellness Centre, believes that “dance is one of the best ways to get fit. Zumba helps you to get in shape faster; it reduces stress, lifts your spirits with great music, and grants confidence through its moves. It also helps you to burn up to 800 calories in just one hour. The most popular dance forms are aerobics, Zumba, Salsa, Bollywood and belly dancing. The lattermost is one of the best workouts for the abs and sculpts all the core muscles of the body.”
We’ve given you some wonderful and healthy reasons to let your hair down, get your dancing shoes on, and boogie those calories away. You can kill two birds with one stone – get fit and have fun, all while finally taking ‘learn to dance’ off your bucket list. – Saloni