Does dancing in your own room, to beats you choose, sound like a good idea to you rather than hitting the gym and lifting weights or running on the treadmill? If yes, then you can consider dancing as an early morning workout and approach it accordingly. Regardless of what form of dance you choose, it will give you a whole-body workout, and it will be fun at the same time.
Though a lot of people, in the recent times, have taken to dancing as workout, there is a question that is constantly being raised as well: Can dance be an effective way to get a good workout?
“Dance lets you burn those unwanted calories and simultaneously enjoy the rhythm. And because it’s fun than monotonous cardio sessions like running or cycling at the gym, a lot of people seem to prefer it,” says Bikal Shrestha, cardio and aerobics instructor at Smart Aerobic Fitness in Baneshwor, Kathmandu. He further adds that dance can also help you combat common health problems like blood pressure, diabetes, and thyroid issues to name a few.
And Shrestha mentions that all you have to do is simply move your body to match the beats. Raise your hands high and swing it around. Repeat the set a few times or until you are sweaty and you think you have given your body enough exercise for the day. “You don’t have to be a good dancer or even know how to dance to do this. You can also dance alone or with a family member. And the best thing about this is that the weather will never be able to ruin your exercise session,” he says.
However, Shrestha also mentions that there are a few things that one needs to keep in mind before and after doing this free-form workout. Here he guides us through some basic do’s and don’ts and also takes us through five basic forms of dance that we can try at home.
Things to keep in mind
Warm up for few minutes before starting the real dance session. For this, one may jump and lightly stretch their body.
Water is undoubtedly good yet you should avoid drinking water 30 minutes before and after the exercise session. This will balance the level of hydration in the body.
Shrestha also advises avoiding heavy meal two hours prior and after the dance session. Going overboard with too much food right before a workout will leave you feeling sluggish and can lead to stomach discomfort as well.
You also need to make sure that you are comfortable. Dress in form fitting clothes that feel right and invest in a good pair of shoes that cushion your soles.
The various forms of dance
“When it comes to choosing dance for workout, aerobics and zumba are the options that come to mind. But you don’t have to limit yourself to these two forms,” says Shrestha. There are other forms of dance that you can choose from depending on what catches your fancy. It does not matter which form you pick because all you need to do is to put on the music and move your body to match the beats. Shrestha suggests some basic dance forms that are really effective to control weight and boost energy.
It is basically a non-choreographed dance where people can do anything they want. They can basically make their own steps. Compared to other forms, it is the easiest one because you don’t need to be trained to do this and your steps don’t have to be coordinated as well. Just put on some Bollywood tunes or recent Nepali hit numbers and move your body to the music in the way that feels right for an hour and you are done.
Hula hoop dance
Get a hula hoop and swing it around in any way you prefer. You can choose to do so using your hands, legs, waist, or even neck. This is a great way to tone your muscles, trim your waistline, and improve digestion as well. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to do it right away. With practice you will surely master it in no time.
Get started with hip-hop music itself. The urban dance style is made of many other forms of locking and popping, breaking and freestyling. Though the style is generally embraced by youths and teenagers, age isn’t a restriction and people of all age groups should enjoy this cool dance form. Though it might feel a little strange initially, you will love it when you start loving the super fun music.
The best thing about jazzercise is that it truly offers good workout along with the flexibility. Stretch your body and point your toes. Pop the heels of your feet and create different types of postures. Gracefully jump and spin. Change your posture according to the music. It may look hard in the beginning but with time one can notice improvement in their flexibility.
Anyone can learn belly dancing. You don’t need to be super-thin or toned to enjoy this dance form. That’s just a myth. In fact, a lot of fantastic belly dancers in Nepal aren’t exactly petite. While belly dancing might not be a great cardio like the other forms of dance, it will eventually shape and tone your body. It is also a very powerful form of the dance that lets you celebrate your flaws.