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Dancing for Strength

Dance as a form of weight-bearing exercise for improved physical health.

Strength training is often associated with the lifting of weights but did you know that dance can give you one of the best overall workouts for muscle strength as well as increasing flexibility, bone density, balance and core strength. It’s a full-body workout that’s guaranteed to get your heart rate up and target all muscle groups - upper body, lower body, glutes, and more. Science is now confirming what dance enthusiasts have know for years - that dancing is one of the best things we can do for our health and well-being. Here's why:

1. Dancing Builds Muscular Strength.

Each dance move requires a dancer to support their body-weight as they transition rhythmically through each dance step, shape and form. Like all body-weight exercises, these movements trigger muscle growth. Dance involves an extremely broad range of whole body movements, providing a more comprehensive work-out that benefits significantly more of the body’s muscles - including the lesser used smaller muscles that are often neglected by more linear activities like running and biking.

2. Dancing increases cardiovascular endurance

The aerobic nature of dance elevates an individual’s breathing and heart rate, allowing your heart and lungs to better fuel your body with oxygen. This allows your muscles to maintain a higher level of performance for a longer period of time and increases cardiovascular health. Regular moderate-intensity dancing is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and allows people enjoy a variety of physical activities and this carries through later on in life.

3. The Ultimate Core Workout

Want incredible abs? Dancing is the ultimate core trainer and total body workout, and best of all, it’s fun! All of the twisting, turning, reaching, and stretching associated with different dance movements thoroughly works all of the layers of your core, helping to strengthen and tone these abdominal muscles. Your core's job is to stabilize the entire body, so a strong core means a strong back and less pain.

4. Balance and Coordination

Navigating the dancefloor requires balance and coordination. With practice, both of these skills are improved, without you even actively thinking about it. As your start to learn the proper movement for each step, you begin using parts of your feet (ball of foot, heel, toes, inside edge of foot) to initiate balanced movement. You become more conscious of body weight transfer to and from each foot. Good balance, stability and coordination helps prevent falls and injuries. The ability of dancing to improve balance, walking speed and stable walking patterns becomes even more important as we age.

5. Dancing Strengthens Bones

Dancing not only builds muscular strength, it strengthens bones too. The National Osteoporosis Foundation lists dancing as a high-impact weight-bearing exercise that can help maintain and even build bone density. As discussed above, dancing requires you to constantly transfer and re-balance your weight. These movements can put positive stress on bones which triggers bone repair and growth.

All this, plus the mental, emotional and social health benefits, makes dance one of the most beneficial activities for everyone whether you're eight or 80 years old. If the gym isn't cutting it for you - try dancing. You can take it from a gentle Waltz to a fast paced Salsa. You decide how gentle or intense you want your work out to be depending on your energy levels, mood or level of fitness and mobility.

If you've never danced before, Blueheel Dance Studio, located in the heart of beautiful Port Credit offers free trial classes so you can get your feet wet before jumping right in. Call or click here to try.

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