We all need to enjoy healthy lifestyles and exercise regularly, but that's easier said than done, especially with our busy lives. And let's face it, exercise is pretty boring - we'd all be fit otherwise.
So, is there a fun way to burn off the kilojoules-slash-calories? You bet there is! Just DANCE!
When you dance, your spirit flies, your inhibitions are set free, you feel invigorated and inspired. You're in sync with the beat, your body moves to the music, you're feeling great and you're looking great.
Why lift kilos at the gym, when you can drop kilos bopping to the Salsa and Cha Cha.
Yes. Be aware, dancing is dangerous - it causes addiction!
Joking aside, dancing is one of the world's healthiest hobbies with benefits for both your mental and physical health. There will be plenty of reasons your body will thank you for learning to dance:
Improved balance - the more you practise your dancing, the more you are fine tuning your body to achieve great balance.
Improved posture - when dancing you will quickly find that having a bad posture doesn't work and you'll naturally adopt a better posture.
Cardio - dancing is a cardio activity that is easy to stick to because it's fun.
If you want to lose weight, improve your stamina or you just have too much energy and you want to do some cardio, dancing is the perfect solution for you.
Don't get afraid of numbers (we don't like them either), but 1 hour of dancing in medium tempo burns 300 calories and that's the same as you would burn jogging for an hour. However, if you dance more actively (for example you dance to faster songs) or you attend a dance party, you can burn even more than 600 calories. To compare with running, you would need to run 10 km to burn the same amount of calories (that's the distance between QuickSteps studio on Gouger Street and West Beach or 30 circles around football field).
Okay, enough with the numbers. You can decide for yourself - do you prefer running for 2 hours or attending a dance event, meeting people, having a few drinks, and dancing? We choose dancing!
For cardio Salsa, Swing, Rock N Roll, Cha Cha, Merengue, Samba, Quickstep and Hustle are the best choices. Here are some songs that are good for cardio:
MC Hammer - U Can't Touch This (Cha Cha)
Duffy - Mercy (Cha Cha)
Katrina & The Waves - Walking On Sunshine (Quickstep)
Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Husle)
You probably think dancing can't help strengthening your body, but think about yoga for a moment. You are basically not doing anything in yoga, but keeping one position for some time. Do you think that's easy? It's definitely not and it requires some strength and flexibility.
Dancing is similar - dancing ballroom dance styles such as Waltz, Tango and Foxtrot won't make you sweat as much as latin and swing. Ballroom styles will however concentrate more on posture and holding your body in the right position while you're dancing. This muscle control helps to tone and strengthen your body. You will also find that Ballroom dances, with their requirement for long, powerful strides are excellent for leg toning and conditioning. They're not called dancer's legs for nothing!
For toning/strengthening, stick to Waltz, Tango, Rumba, Bolero and Foxtrot. Listen to these slow tempo songs to get an idea of good songs for toning your body:
Christina Aguilera - Hurt (Bolero)
Elvis Presley - Are You Lonesome Tonight (Waltz)
Metallica - Nothing Else Matters (Waltz)
Hozier - Take Me To Church (Rumba)
QuickSteppers: Hannah, Mikki, Sara, David, Jayson & Rommel
Event: QS Winter Ball 2015
Song: We Go Together by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
Info: Strict sport class combined with a little bit of dancing!
Will I feel I am getting a work out straight away?
No, probably not.
Dancing is not like running on a treadmill. You need to learn the steps and techniques before you can dance yourself into a sweat. This might take 3 or 4 weeks.
For couples learning together, it could take longer. It may be worth having private lessons separately to learn faster.
Don’t worry, you would still have plenty of opportunities to dance together, particularly at the group classes.
Can I replace the gym with dancing?
You can replace the gym with dancing. Just tell your teacher so they can ensure your lessons are high intensity.
However you can't come in dancing once a week and expect amazing results. You will need to ensure that group classes are part of your weekly routine. But don't worry - dancing is fun - so it won't feel like a chore.