3- Dance – health benefits

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3- Dance – health benefits

About dance

There are many forms of dance, from ballroom to barn dancing and disco to Morris dancing

Dance has always been a part of human culture, rituals and celebrations. Today, most dancing is about recreation and self-expression, although it can also be done as a competitive activity

Dancing is an enjoyable way to be more physically active and stay fit

Health benefits of dancing

Dancing can be a way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It has a wide range of physical and mental benefits including

improved condition of your heart and lungs

increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness

increased aerobic fitness

improved muscle tone and strength

weight management

Dance - health benefits
Dance – health benefits

stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis

better coordination, agility and flexibility

improved balance and spatial awareness

increased physical confidence

improved mental functioning

improved general and psychological wellbeing

greater self-confidence and self-esteem

better social skills

Getting started with dancing

You can dance in a group, with a partner, or on your own

There are lots of different places where you can enjoy dancing, for example, at dance schools, social venues, community halls and in your own home. Dancing has become such a popular way to be active and keep fit, that most fitness clubs now offer dance classes in their group exercise programs

Dancing can be done both competitively and socially. It can be a great recreational and sporting choice, because anyone of any age can take part. It doesn’t matter whether it is cold or raining, as dancing is usually done indoors

The gear you need for dancing will depend on the style of dancing you choose. For example, tap dancing will involve buying tap shoes, however many forms of dance do not need special equipment or footwear 

To get started, simply choose a style you enjoy, or would like to try, look online for dance schools in your local area and join a class

Types of dance

There are many styles of dance to choose from, each with its own attractions. Popular styles of dancing include

Ballet – mostly performed to classical music, this dance style focuses on strength, technique and flexibility

Ballroom dancing – this involves a number of partner-dancing styles such as the waltz, swing, foxtrot, rumba and tango

Belly dancing – originating in the Middle East, this dance style is a fun way to exercise

Hip-hop – performed mostly to hip-hop music, this urban dance style can involve breaking, popping, locking and freestyling

Jazz – a high-energy dance style involving kicks, leaps and turns to the beat of the music

Pole dancing – has become increasingly popular as a form of exercise. It involves dancing with a vertical pole, and requires muscle endurance, coordination, and upper- and lower-body strength

Salsa – involving a mixture of Caribbean, Latin American and African influences, salsa is usually a partner dance and emphasizes rhythms and sensuality

Square-dancing – a type of folk dancing where 4 couples dance in a square pattern, moving around each other and changing partners

Tap dancing – focuses on timing and beats. The name originates from the tapping sounds made when the small metal plates on the dancer’s shoes touch the ground

Choosing a dance style

When choosing a dance style, ask yourself questions such as

?Do I want to dance to improve my fitness

?Am I trying to improve my flexibility and coordination

?Do I prefer fast dancing or slow dancing

?Do I want to dance with a partner, or on my own

?Do I want to join a group, or have private lessons

?Will I enjoy competitions, or do I want to dance just for fun

General tips for dancing

Dance - health benefits
Dance – health benefits

If you are thinking of taking up dancing, suggestions include

See your doctor for a check-up if you have a medical condition, are overweight, are over 40 years of age or are unfit

Wear layers of clothing that you can take off as your body warms up

Do warm-up activities before you begin a dance session

Drink plenty of water before, during and after dancing

Make sure you rest between dance sessions

Don’t push yourself too far or too fast, especially if you are a beginner

Wear professionally fitted shoes appropriate to your style of dance

Check with your dance instructor that you are holding the correct form

Sit and watch new dance moves first. Learning new moves increases your risk of injury, especially if you are already tired

Perform regular leg-strengthening exercises

Move as fluidly and gracefully as you can

Cool down after a dance session, including stretching

Dance - health benefits
Dance – health benefits

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