In November’s blog we took a look at group exercise. From aquarobics to walking, body pump to yoga, group exercising can be a great way to have fun, keep fit, beat the winter blues, and meet likeminded souls. But when it comes to combining a great workout with pure pleasure, it’s hard to beat a dance class – whatever your level of fitness. Whether it’s line dancing or hip-hop, fox trot or jive, whether you like the poise of ballet or the sexiness of salsa, there’s something out there for everyone.
What are dance-based exercises?
The clue is in the name. Dance-based exercises channel the passion for dance ignited by Strictly Come Dancing and Britain’s Got Talent and use it to get people jiving. And the great thing about dance is that while you’re having fun, your body is getting a workout. Once you get into it, you won’t even know you’re exercising. Whether it’s the high intensity burn of hip hop and salsa or the grace and fluidity of tango and waltz, you’ll find something that’s right for your fitness and flexibility.
What are the health benefits?
Amazing. Dance is a whole-body workout. Get into the habit and you’ll lose weight (a 30-minute dance class burns between 130 and 250 cals, much the same as jogging) strengthen bones, increase muscle strength and posture, boost balance and co-ordination as well as melt away that stress. The more energetic, the greater the cardio-vascular bonus – dance can give heart and lungs a huge lift, fighting coronary heart disease and lowering blood pressure. According to those good people over at the NHS there’s evidence regular dancing can also improve heart health in older people.
But dance is about more than your body. Have you seen the way dancers move – the ease and grace? The way they exude confidence? You don’t have to be a Nureyev or Fontaine to put a bit of that spring in your step. Dance is also about connection – connecting with yourself, and others. It’s a wonderful – and natural – way to meet people.
How do I get started?
Look for a local class. Most good dance schools offer beginners’ classes – a great way to see if it’s for you. They don’t have to be pricey. And remember, if you don’t find one you like straight away, try another – there are loads to choose from. Why not take a look at over at One Dance UK’s website, and find a local dance agency – they’ll let you know what’s on offer in your neighbourhood.
What do I need to take with me?
Not a lot. Unless it’s a specialist dance class like tap or ballet, all you’ll need are some loose-fitting clothes, a pair of trainers, a bottle of water and a towel, just in case you get a sweat up – that and a desire to have some fun while shaking that booty.
What’s on offer at Active Nation?
At Active Nation we focus on two popular dance-exercises – sh’bam and zumba – both inspired by Latin rhythms. They offer great – and sociable – full-body workouts. So why not take a look at our website and find a class that’s right for you.