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Instead, why not dance your way to good health? According to experts, dance possesses the major components of any fitness regimen. All forms of dance have an aerobic element. Dance is a great workout and does the job as well as any traditional workout. From burning calories to socializing with friends, it’s a wonderful alternative to aerobic dance or jogging. The side-to-side movements of many styles strengthen muscles in your hips, thighs and calves, and, like any weight-bearing exercise, help to build stronger bones. Dancing also contains a social component by giving you the opportunity to develop strong social ties, which contribute to self-esteem.
The popularity of movement and dance has exploded in the past few years, with more adults searching for an alternative to traditional gym workouts and jazzing up their fitness routine with a dose of dance. From burning calories to socializing with friends, dancing has numerous health benefits, and you’ll be too busy having fun to even notice you’re working out!
Dance professionals have long known the health benefits of these new trends sweeping the nation today that add pizzazz to workouts as well as the advantages that dance has in enhancing a person’s life at any age. Dance is exercise, but dancing is different. It exercises the whole being. It lifts the spirit, strengthens the body and stimulates the mind. Going to classes, and dancing itself are ways of working on your life so that some part of it acquires grace and harmony, in a world that sometimes seems to have become too chaotic.
Different dance classes work out different parts of the body. The options are endless, from swing to salsa, hustle to hip-hop. Learn ballroom dancing at a dance studio, or join friends at a nightclub and work out both body and soul. Country-western dance-as popular as ever- will give your heart rate a healthy boost.
The fast pace of swing dancing is a guarantee you’ll sweat your way to a better body. Latin dancing like Salsa and Mambo work the entire body and are “red-hot” today since the success of heartthrob Ricky Martin and a number of others.
Ballet barre exercises are great strengtheners. Through the study of Modern Dance-which is gaining more widespread popularity-one becomes acutely aware of the communicative potential of human movement and its power to reveal moods, feelings and ideas. Internally focused; you pay attention to your breathing and emotions. You remain barefoot-to stay in touch with the earth.
Jazz dancing is a very aerobic workout that isolates different parts of the body. This ability will help you to keep to the rhythm of the music. The thing that makes jazz different from other forms of dance is that its style can vary greatly, absorbing the many influences of current life and fashions. Often associated with musicals, it is a highly skilled and powerful form of dance.
Belly dancing tones abdominal muscles, and can be a major workout for your arms, legs, abs, and rear, as can Latin dances, like Salsa and African, done low to the ground with strong upper-body movements.
According to studies, partner dancing like Polka, Swing and Waltzes are particularly effective for weight loss. Whatever you choose, you’ll soon find yourself both working out and having a blast.
Your Top Health Priority: Get Moving!
The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, a leading health research institute, delivered some shocking news: Living a couch-potato lifestyle can be just as hazardous to your health as smoking, high blood pressure or high cholesterol – -all three known risk factors for premature death. Researchers tracked more than 32,000 men and women for eight years, on average. Those who were fit, even if they had two or the three risk factors, had lower death rates than sedentary but otherwise healthy people. Experts say it is just as important for someone who is not exercising to increase his or her fitness as it is for a smoker to stop smoking. For overall health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most (preferably all) days of the week. Regular exercise is the single best way to become fit and energetic.
You also become much more efficient and productive if you exercise regularly, experts say. While there are some people who love exercise and find leg lifts uplifting and treadmills a treat, some words of advice to those who want to try something different: Dance!
The key to real fitness, doctors say, is to find what you love and do it. While some people are reluctant to try dancing because they are afraid to look awkward, most dance classes are less about precision and more about expression. So don’t save dancing just for special occasions. It’s one of the best ways to stay fit for life!
Dance Away Calories
Dancing can burn as many calories as walking, swimming or riding a bicycle. During a half hour of sustained dancing you can burn between 200 and 400 calories.
Moderate dancing burns 250 to 300 calories an hour. Just 20 minutes will get your heart rate up to aerobic training levels.
Energetic dancing can burn up to 400 calories in the same time span.
African Dance: A good cardio workout that targets the legs. It works the entire body, especially the arms and legs. Can burn more than 500 calories an hour.
Hip-hop: A good over-all cardio workout. Can burn more than 500 calories an hour.
Jazz: A very aerobic workout that can burn more than 500 calories an hour.
Tap: A good cardio workout that can burn more than 500 calories an hour.
Ballet: Targets the legs and buttocks. It can burn nearly 400 calories an hour.
Warm Up To Your Workout
Before starting to dance, spend a few minutes stretching. Practice a few dance steps to prepare your muscles for activity.
Begin with slower, less demanding rhythms and build up to faster tempos. Easing into activities lessens the chance of pulling or straining a muscle.
Know your limits. If you feel undue fatigue or shortness of breath, take a break.
Cool down-a moderate walk will do.
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