As we all know heart pumping aerobic exercise is an essential part of any anti aging health strategy. But – for many of us – “workout boredom” can get in the way.
Twice weekly visits to the gym to pound the treadmill or the exercise machines soon lose their attraction. And one thing you really need when you are trying to tone up and lose weight is motivation.
So why not combine exercise with pleasure and and join a dance class?
Join the celebs
Dance fitness, also known as “beat-based” fitness or dance exercise, is becoming big business in gyms and dance studios and a hot favorite among celebrities.
Gwyneth Paltrow owes her new trimmed and toned shape to a dance fitness routine originally created for her by the personal trainer she shared with Madonna.
You may not be at the Madonna level of personal fitness – nor want to be – but combining dance and fitness is a great idea. Any exercise is more effortless if you do it with other people to a great beat – dancing exercise can become a total pleasure.
Choose your dance style
There are many ways to combine dance and fitness. Ballroom dancing – fuelled by recent reality TV programs which put well known names through their dance paces – is experiencing a renaissance globally.
It may look elegant but this is no easy option – practising ballroom dancing exercises means a heart pumping workout. Posture is enhanced as well as balance and flexibility. No doubt about it this is strenuous exercise – but at its most graceful and fluid.
Belly dancing is also great dancing exercise – good for balance and posture. This dance strengthens the back and the muscles of the pelvic floor. It tones hamstrings, thighs, abs, glutes and hips. It’s a great place to start for beginners but, as you progress, dance moves can be faster and more aerobic giving you a full body workout. Great for toning the abdominal flab and developing core strength – gently.
A line dance workout?
Line dancing for exercise may not be the most obvious way to combine a workout with a beat. But don’t dismiss it out of hand – although some consider this a low impact form of exercise it definitely has the ability to get your heart rate up.
Forget the old Country and Western image – line dancing has expanded its horizons. The music can be soulful, swing, Latin, jazz, urban nightclub, and even the waltz and foxtrot are now done in a line. One of the big advantages with this type of dance as exercise – you don’t need a partner so you just turn up and join in.
Swing, West Coast Swing, Jive or Boogie, can be found in a line dance as well as in a more traditional form with a partner. You’ll find flexibility you never thought achievable, tone your core muscles and have the time of your life – dancing fitness at it’s very best.
Zumba and Salsa top the Latin list
Everyone has heard about salsa – but what about cardio salsa for a more exciting workout? This Latin street dance is similar to the mambo, but faster. Wildly popular in gyms – zumba is one of the latest Latin dance workouts to be taught as aerobic exercise appealing to all ages and both genders.
All forms of dance for fitness share the bonus of combining fun with a great cardio workout. Many of them are also great forms of core exercise – developing strength in those core muscles which are so essential for fighting abdominal flab in our forties and beyond.
Add a hoop to the mix
Forget about the gentle and light hoola hoops of earlier times – hoop dancing nowadays will give you a real dance cardio workout. The hoops you use are specially weighted and much bigger than the thin, narrow plastic hoops you may have tried out in your childhood.
Back in the day hoola-hooping was a bit of a static activity – my memory is just standing there trying to get a light plastic hoop to stay up by jiggling around with my feet rooted to the spot.
Hoop dancing now involves a whole lot more movement – real dance exercises done to any type of music you like. You start from a still position but soon you learn to move around, twirl, move the hoop around and up your body and arms – all still in time to the beat. It’s up there with salsa and zumba as one of the sexiest forms of dancing as exercise and it is wonderful for tightening your core and losing the back fat.
Dancing for fitness is almost endless in its possibilities. Whatever type of music you like there is bound to be a class available in a gym or club near you.
And don’t forget – having fun is good for you! The fact that you enjoy it floods your system with endorphins and reduces blood pressure – making dance fitness great for healthy aging.