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Aerobics and Dancing

By: Nicole Martorana - Updated: 13 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cardio Heart Muscles Exercise Gym

Are you the only one amongst your friends who’s never seen the inside of a gym? Does the sight of treadmills and cross trainers make you cringe? One of the perks of being a dancer means keeping in shape -- without ever having to set foot in a cardio room or fall off a stability ball!

However if you simply can’t keep away from that sweat-filled oasis, odds are your dance experience will make you more adept at your workout, thanks to better balance, strength and coordination. When it comes to burning fat, staying active and maintaining a healthy heart, aerobic exercise is exactly what the doctor ordered. And whether you’re a gym-rat through and through or you suffer from an acute phobia of steps and skipping ropes, your dancing can either BE or SUPPLEMENT the ultimate aerobic workout.

Boogie Down

Because dancing requires steady and constant movement, it is one of the best ways to achieve a medium to high level cardio workout. To start burning fat and exercising your heart muscle, a true aerobic workout requires you to maintain a substantially increased heart-rate for longer than ten minutes. As most dance classes and rehearsals demand an hour or more of high physical exertion, dancers burn calories, tone muscles and facilitate the transport of oxygen throughout the bloodstream, the same way one would do in an aerobics class or on a machine at the gym.

The stretches and warm-up at the beginning of a dance class warm the muscles and increase the blood flow. The progressions, exercises and choreography that follow keep the heart pumping since they require the dancer to move rapidly and consistently. Different kinds of dance tend to work different sets of muscles, but every dance form tones muscle mass as a result of the lifting, bending and stretching of the arms, legs and torso. In other words, your dance class is also a full-body workout!

Feel the Burn

In spite of an active lifestyle, many dancers choose to supplement their dance classes and rehearsals with additional toning and workouts. This can benefit the dancer by building up stamina, which will make one less prone to tiredness during long rehearsals, increasing strength, which can result in stronger leaps and turns and exercising coordination, which can come in handy when learning new choreography.

If you are a dancer who enjoys an additional physical workout each week, it is likely that you will find your aptitude at those workouts is enhanced by your experience as a dancer. Dancers tend to have better balance, strong arms and legs, and more practice at picking up a routine. All of these skills come in handy in classes such as step aerobics, sculpt and stretch, or kickboxing. Your balance will help you in stability classes and the cardio workout you get when you dance will make you better equipped to sweat through a spin class or a session on the treadmill.

As long as you treat your joints and muscles with care, you will find that the classes and equipment at the gym are a great compliment to your weekly dance regimen. So the next time you feel the urge to shy away from that bums and tums class, remember that the ballet you did yesterday might just help you breeze through it!

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