Getting fit does not have to be the chore it’s often perceived to be. Instead, as people all around the globe are finding out each day, dancing is one of the best fitness workouts there is. Dancing offers upbeat and inventive exercise, that promotes a more healthy and active lifestyle. Sociable, energizing and life-affirming, dance has a whole host of body benefits, from aiding joint flexibility through to boosting mental wellbeing.
What Is Dance Fitness?
First and foremost, dance fitness stands out from technical or traditional dance in that technique and intricate choreography aren’t the focus. Participants don’t spend weeks or months perfecting a single routine in anticipation of a show or recital; rather, they show up, work up a sweat while doing their best to follow an instructor, and leave feeling good about their workout. Most dance fitness classes have a focus on cardiovascular exercise. Instructors plan easy-to-follow choreography that keeps participants moving in an effort to raise their heart rates. This style of cardio dance is the type that’s been known to take over the world. Zumba, Jazzercise, LaBlast, Hip Hop Abs, TurboJam, and Bokwa all fall in this category. That said, there are slower-paced dance fitness classes that focus on different elements of physical fitness. For instance, barre classes work to improve balance, coordination, core strength, and flexibility while also enhancing the strength of smaller, stabilizing muscles. Likewise, pole dancing helps improve flexibility, and dance-styles that meld dance with yoga or martial arts (like Yoga Trance Dance or Nia) bring a mind-body element to dance-focused workouts.
There Are three Broad Categories of Dance Fitness..
Cardio Dance: These classes may include hip-swaying and chest pops, but their pace is fast and their intent is to make you break a sweat (nothing further). Cardio dance classes are often based on certain styles or forms of dance. For instance, Zumba is based loosely on Latin dance; Bokwa on African dance; Doonya on Bollywood dance; LaBlast on ballroom dance; Jazzercise on jazz dance; Kerboomka on club-style dance; and Broadway Bodies on Broadway dance. You may find you prefer one form or another, but their intents are more or less the same—to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Barre Workouts: Barre workouts are ballet-inspired routines that incorporate elements of yoga, Pilates, and strength training with light weights. Posture and proper form are a primary focus as instructors lead students through moves that challenge balance, stability, and core strength. High repetitions, small, isolating “pulses,” and slow movements contribute to the often-cited “muscle shakes” and “burnout” associated with the routines. The workouts are generally low-impact and moderate-intensity, offering a modest cardiovascular benefit. Where they really shine is in their focus on flexibility and core strength, making them an excellent cross-training option for runners, cyclists, and heavy lifters.
Mind-Body Dance: Mind-body dance typically incorporates elements of yoga, tai chi, or martial arts into a flowing routine. These workouts offer combined benefits ranging from improved cardiovascular health to enhanced flexibility and reduced stress. Classes are typically low-impact and low- to moderate-intensity, perfect for beginners looking for a way to ease into exercise. Prime examples include Nia and Yoga Trance Dance.
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Most Dance Fitness Classes Are Appropriate for All Levels Unless Otherwise Noted..
Generally speaking, most dance classes are low-impact, which means one foot is always in contact with the ground. Because participants don’t have to worry about running, jumping, or other high-intensity, high-impact exercises, classes are less likely to cause injury or lead to excessive soreness. Plus, the choreography is easily modifiable by simply using smaller movements; you don’t have to swing your arms as forcefully or take large, exaggerated steps, for example. And on the flip side, you can intensify a workout by adding steps and exaggerating your movements. Most classes are friendly for all fitness levels.
Q&A: what is the primary purpose of Barre workouts?
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