Who doesn’t like a good boogie? You get to move and shake it with the best of them, release endorphins, get the heart rate up and have a lot of fun while you’re doing it.
Dance doesn’t just help us with cardiovascular health and fitness, studies have shown that dance can elevate our mood, reduce stress and increase our serotonin levels.
But don’t just take our word for it, The New England Journal of Medicine even reported that dance can even help us stay mentally alert as we age.
So the next time you think about hitting the treadmill when you want a good workout, why not bust a move with some of these dance styles instead?
Salsa isn’t just a dance for Latino couples! Anyone can head along to a class and work up a sweat. There are a whole bunch of different styles to try out too, including Rueda — which is a Cuban style of Salsa danced in a circle — LA style, Colombian style, Cali style and more! Look up a class in your area and try one out.
Zumba is all about creating a party atmosphere and making fitness all about having fun. And you don’t have to know anything about dance to get into Zumba. If the instructor is shimmying left and you’re shimmying right, no worries! Just keep moving, have fun and get those hips swaying. The main rhythms used in Zumba include Salsa, Merengue, Reggaeton and Cumbia. Beto Perez, who created the dance craze says anyone can give Zumba a go. “I think people in the fitness business create programs for people in the fitness world,” Beto says. “With Zumba, anyone can do it. Sometimes we have three generations in class,” he says. Visit the Zumba website to found out where your nearest class is.
There are several different styles of African dance taught in Australia. From the light and elegant Guinea ballet to the tough and grounded dance of Ghana, African dance is all about community, sharing stories and communicating with our bodies. The movements are fluid, it is easy to get lost in the sounds of the Djembe drums and it can be extremely therapeutic. A lot of strength is required in your legs, your core and your butt so be sure to stretch before and after a class as you might have trouble walking the next day if you don’t! Yenenesh Nigusse, born in Ethiopia, teaches in West End, Brisbane and holds workshops across the country. Visit her website for more information.
Pole dancing was the latest craze a few years ago, wasn’t it? It was risqué, sexy and a bit naughty, but now it is just the done thing. Instead of hitting the gym after work, women head to their local pole gym and there’s a reason why — because through pole dancing you incorporate a whole host of core, upper body and lower body muscle groups and it is great for flexibility and strength training. If you want to try it out, go and get your sexy on at Pole Fitness Australia.
A sensual and fluid dance from Brazil, this style of dance is not for the timid. You get close, real close, with your dance partner, flick your hair around like you’re Willow Smith and move those hips like Shakira. Mishel Finlayson, who studied in Rio for two years, teaches Zouk in Brisbane. Check out her classes — she also teaches Samba!
So remember, getting fit doesn’t just mean scheduling time at the gym every week. Get out and have a dance, do a class, go social dancing and get your shimmy on. Your stomach and butt, as well as your mind, will thank you for it!