There are many activities you can do to stay fit and healthy. Dancing is one of the best. Besides eating right, sleeping enough and not playing in traffic, staying active is critical to staying healthy. We all know this, but many of us can’t manage to stay active. You don’t like gyms or working out. It’s boring. Lifting a weight up and down isn’t exciting. You don’t want to run around the same track again and again either. Now how many times around was that? You tried boxing, but don’t like getting hit in the head. It hurts. You even tried kick boxing. That hurts even more. So what can you do? Dance. It’s safe, it’s fun, and you don’t get head aches.
Dancing gives you a total body workout. You are using all parts. It’s anaerobic as well as aerobic. It’s a mental work out, and also involves lots of flexibility. There are few activities that have all this.
Aerobic is endurance stuff. Walking, jogging, etc. You get that from dancing. Try our Latin cardio class and you will see what I mean. You will have a great time listing to great music and moving to it non stop. The same is true for salsa, hustle, bachata, samba and tango. One or two sambas, jives or Viennese waltz is guaranteed to get your heart beat up. I just had a group of twenty year old girls come to our Salsa Latin Hustle Social at our Park Slope dance studio. After a few salsas and bachatas, they needed to sit down. While we have regulars in their 40’s and 50’s who dance 3 or 4 hours straight with no problem. Dancing builds your aerobic endurance.
Anaerobic is more like weight lifting or playing the net in tennis. Quick, explosive movements. Dancing has this too. Try dipping or lifting your dance partner, and you will see what I mean. It’s just like lifting weights. Spins and lunges are also very anaerobic.
Flexibility is also a big part of dance. Any Argentine tango student who is learning body dissociation, or salsa student who is learning figure eights and hip rolls knows what I mean. I have a new student at our Midwood studio who is a martial arts teacher. A black belt in many styles. After two or three classes, he tells me that he is feeling muscles sore that he never knew he had.
Staying healthy isn’t just physical. Your mind also needs to be fit; constantly growing and learning new things. In dance your memory is put to the test. You are always learning new patterns and sequences. If not used, they will be forgotten. Anyone who has ever choreographed a routine knows what I mean. A 4 minute salsa routine can easily have over 100 different steps and patterns. The more routines you do, the sharper your memory gets. Dancing gets both the mind and body fit; while also having fun, meeting new people and making new friends.