Dancing for Fitness

One only has to take a look at the before and after photos of the celebrities who participate in ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Many of them start out not in the best of shapes and by the time the show is over, they look fantastic, well-toned and amazing in their barely there costumes. Many gyms have begun to give dance schools a run for their money by incorporating dance classes into their programs. For those who cannot afford ballroom classes, there is a wide range of choices to choose from – hip hop, jazz, step, line dancing, aerobic, modern, ballet and contemporary. Be sure to find out from your local gym what classes are available – many offer them for free. There is also the option of renting DVDs that showcase dancing in various forms. There is quite a huge market for that in the fitness world and you are most likely to find anything from basic footwork to belly dancing. As with any exercise routine, you must find consult your doctor before doing anything strenuous.

What are the benefits of dancing? Besides it being tons of fun and a great way to meet others (especially in a social setting) and express yourself, it aids in flexibility and coordination. Muscles are stretched, tightened and toned – upper and lower body muscles as well as aerobic conditioning. Stamina is tested and endurance is key – this goes for those participating in dancing as more than just recreation. For seniors or those unable to be as active as others, there are low-level dance routines that you can participate in, the most common being ‘chair dancing’.

And the cons? Just about the same as you would expect from doing something strenuous while exercising. Be prepared for the bumps and bruises that will come your way, especially if you’re a beginner. Long hours on the dance floor are tiring and muscle cramps or foot sores are more than likely to develop. Be sure to stretch out very well before and after your dance routine and hydrate yourself as much as possible with water or any vitamin/energy drink.