Why Dance Is Good For Fitness

Getting fit does not have to be the chore it’s often perceived to be. Instead, as people all around the globe are finding out each day, dancing is one of the best fitness workouts there is. Dancing offers upbeat and inventive exercise, that promotes a more healthy and active lifestyle. Sociable, energizing and life-affirming, dance has a whole host of body benefits, from aiding joint flexibility through to boosting mental wellbeing.

Here are our top 10 reasons why dance is such a great fitness activity.

Building Muscular Endurance

Tired of feeling… tired? Still exhausted when you wake up in the morning? Then dancing could provide the answer. Regular dance exercise improves the endurance of body muscles, allowing them to work harder for longer periods of time without feeling tired. Dancing also raises the body’s heart rate to heighten stamina. You’ll be jumping out of bed each morning in no time.

Dancing Improves The Body’s Flexibility

A healthy body needs joints and muscles to be flexible; something that dance can really help with. Most dance styles involve a great range of motion and movement, allowing major muscle groups to be flexed and properly worked out. As a result, the dancer’s body should soon become more nimble. Sell my home ASAP

Developing Upper And Lower Body Strength

Dancing may not initially appear the best way to build your bodily strength into that of a champion weight lifter. However, dance exercise still offers a fine way of boosting upper and lower body strength. Many dance styles require lifting, leaping and prancing — all of which require a muscular drive that builds up over time.

Dancing Yourself To A Happier Mind

As well as making your body feel fitter and healthier, regular dancing exercise will also reduce mental tension and lead you on the path to a stress-free mind. Dance stimulates happiness endorphins in the brain to alleviate day-to-day worries and concerns. If nothing else, dance is cheaper than hiring a shrink.

Hate Being A Social Leper? Try Dancing

Dance classes offer great ways of meeting new people, allowing you to make friends and improve your social skills. Whether you’re already a vivacious party machine, or a perennial social leper, dancing could soon entail better self-confidence and new social opportunities.

Dance Away The Calories

Whether you’re salsa dancing, gliding across a ballroom floor or tapping your toes to some two-step rock, dance exercise offers an easy and enjoyable way to burn off unwanted calories. A half hour of dancing can burn between 200 and 400 calories so why not run away from that miserable treadmill training and dance along to the fitness beat?

Get Stronger Bones

If you want to protect and improve your bone density, then dance could hold the answer. Dancing can help with the prevention of bone problems such as osteoporosis, with dancing exercise allowing more calcium to be absorbed into the body’s bones.

It’s Good For Your Mental Health

If you find yourself slumping into middle-aged malaise, forgetting how many children you have and where you last left them, dancing could be the solution to make your mind feel younger and more alert. Dance improves the memory, as it forces participants to recall steps, patterns and elaborate routines to offer a mental workout for the mind.

Balancing The Body

As well as improving the body’s flexibility and bone structure, dancing also boosts stabilising core muscles to balance the body and make muscles and tendons less susceptible to injury. Coordination and reflexes are also strengthened through regular dancing workouts.

Fact: Dancing Creates Better Blood

Dancing exercise controls cholesterol levels in the blood, as well as helping to set blood sugar levels. If you suffer from high blood pressure then dancing could well be the prime exercise for you.

Dancers as Athletes

The human body is an amazing machine and in everyday life we use merely a fraction of the muscles and movement permutations available to us. Contemporary dance is one dance genre that constantly explores the movements of the body striving for innovation and originality.

As knowledge about the body increases, dance training improves and the competition for excellence paired with innovation is greater, dancers bodies are pushed to the limits. The physical ability and disciplines expected of a dancer can be easily related to those of an athlete and increasingly, dance critics are describing dancers as athletic.

So, can we consider dancers as athletes? Why might some people in the dance profession and in sport be unwillingly to accept this concept?

Firstly, let us consider the definition of athlete; a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill. A dancer must certainly achieve physical agility, stamina and strength in their profession and physical skill must be mastered. Daily training involves repetition of exercises to achieve the physical attributes necessary to execute movements required of a dancer, however the focus is not on sport or games. Whilst many dancers will compete in contests and will audition against other dancers for a place in a company the real emphasis in dance is on the performance itself. There is an element of competition across the dance profession but the reward is a particular role in a company or a promotion from chorus to soloist rather than a gold medal.

Dance critics have described dancers of Rambert Dance Company as ‘elegant and athletic’, Alvin Ailey’s dancers as having ‘athletic beauty’ and the moves of Company Kafig as ‘athletic feats’. Each company mentioned is known for their very different styles however the common thread here is athleticism which in these instances is seen to refer to physical skill and fitness. The term athletic when associated with a company will always form an image alongside other adjectives used, as well as the company’s past history. For example Rambert’s Dancers as elegant and athletic reflects their classical ballet past but still indicates their extreme physical ability.

One might compare the life styles of athletes and dancers and the similarities may be surprising to some. Due to the physical demands placed on the body health, diet and self-discipline are all crucial to both dance and athletics.

The careers of both dancers and athletes are threatened by injury and therefore the conditioning and care for the body are similar. Exercise models such as Pilates are designed to complement the needs of athletes and dancers alike without making a distinction. A career in either profession is likely to begin at a young age and end by the time they are 40 due to the extreme physical nature.

The thrust of dance as fitness into mainstream media has made dance popular as a means of keeping in shape. When an audience member who has experienced dance goes to see a professional company they may appreciate better the skill and physical fitness required to achieve such feats. When dance critics describe companies as athletic readers may relate to the concept through experience of athleticism at the gym or on the football field. Dance companies who promote themselves as athletic such as Australian Dance Theatre may find that this connects then to their target market and they draw in new audiences.

With hip hop dance hitting the major theatres it becomes apparent that the ‘athletic feats’ referred to are what make this dance so popular. It could be argues that the moves that receive cheers from the audience are all about physical virtuoso and little to do with artistry. However, the hip hop culture demands a certain confidence and flair alongside the physical skill and it is these qualities that make the movements impressive.

Often dancers described as athletic such as Australian Dance Theatre have trained in many different genres giving them powerful muscular physiques and an element of attack in their movement. In the case of ADT the Artistic Director encourages his dancers to train in capoeira and martial arts alongside dance in order to increase their physical strength and breadth of movement to accomplish the daring physical feats prevalent in the choreography.

Whilst it is clear that the physical attributes of a dancer are similar to those of an athlete, dance is considered an art form and there is much more to the art than physical skill and virtuosity. Musicality, expression and creativity are often included in the criteria of what makes a good dancer. In auditions and competitions the technical skill of a dancer can be near to perfect but if they do not have the ability to evoke the viewers and dance with the music then they will not necessarily fulfil the criteria. Dancers may be feel that if they are described as athletic their ability is being reduced to their physical skill alone whereas it is the joy of dance that will drive a dancer to continue their training at such a pace for so many years.

In many respects dancers are athletes but they are also artists and it is this combination that makes for a stunning emotional and physical performance.