Written by Alexa Cortese, web intern
Dance. For some, the word evokes memories of tutus and dreams of being a ballerina as a young girl. For others, it is an expression of self, a way of life or a fun way to get in shape. In fact, it can be all the above! Dance is a great way to have fun while exercising, to learn new things, and to challenge yourself.
Not the graceful type? Not to worry. There are many forms of dance besides ballet, and a lot of the dance fitness classes that are offered at gyms across the country even combine culture and aerobics with dance to provide a unique and interesting approach at fitness! We spoke to Andrea Rogers, creator of Xtend Barre: Lean and Chiseled, and Kimberly Miguel Mullen, star and creator of Dance and Be Fit: Carnaval Workout for more information about five of the most popular methods.
Though the exact origin of belly dancing is unknown, it has been around in Middle Eastern countries for centuries. It’s low-impact, but still will challenge you aerobically. Belly dancing is great for posture, flexibility and your Shakira-style dance game! Plus, “hip exercises aid to relieve PMS and help in preparing for child birth and post-natal rehabilitation for rebuilding abdominal muscles,” adds Miguel Mullen. “Even though the movements are small and isolated, you will work your core muscles differently than you are used to so you will feel it the next day.”
Zumba is a form of dance that is influenced by a combination of many Latin dance styles (think flamenco, meringue and salsa combined with aerobics). It first came to be known in its current form in 1986, when Alberto “Beto” Perez held the first Zumba fitness class in Columbia. These classes became increasingly popular, and came to the United States in 1999. “Zumba introduces a variety of movement that requires a level of coordination of rarely accessed core muscle groups which forces the body to work harder and burn more calories,” Miguel Mullen says. Zumba is designed to keep your heart rate up and improve your strength, stamina, and coordination. And most importantly for long-term success: It’s fun!
To learn more about barre, Pilates and hip-hop workouts, click below.
Just when we thought we couldn’t love her even more, Beyonce has partnered up with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to promote kids’ health and fitness. Watch her new video below and see if you can resist moving along:
Tell us: What are you doing to promote health and fitness in your community?