Dancing has evolved from a way of expressing oneself to a fitness regime today. There has been a recent spurt of dance gyms with people flocking to them to get fit in a fun way. The awareness that dance is a good fitness routine has spread among people only recently. Earlier, dance was known as a performance art exclusively practiced by people belonging to a specific age bracket. This changed as people started taking up dance as a hobby. People started noticing that dance made them fitter, the awareness spread, and studies were conducted to verify the claim. These studies confirmed the fact that dancing did improve fitness and soon people started adopting it as a fitness regime.
Conventional workouts at the gyms turn out to be monotonous after a while. People start getting bored after doing the same routine day after day. Alternate exercise types like dance bring a fresh change into the fitness schedules of people. People claim that they feel energetic after a dance routine, which is very unlike a typical gym routine after which people are usually fatigued. Dance is also a great bonding exercise between two people. All these reasons have made dance one of the popular exercise routines. Following are some of the advantages dance offers:
* People who dance have reduced stress levels.
* Dancing improves hand-eye coordination, balance, and agility.
* If practiced regularly, it strengthens the bones and muscles and some forms of dancing also help improve flexibility.
* Dance forms like ballet, salsa, and tango are equivalent to high intensity workouts and help keep weight in control.
* Dance is a form of aerobic exercise and hence helps in improving lung capacity.
* Dancing has also been shown to be beneficial for heart patients.
* A study was conducted on dementia patients in New York in 2003. They were given dance lessons and after a few months they exhibited reduced symptoms of agitation.
* A study conducted at the Washington University at St. Louis in 2007, showed that American Tango actually improved the mobility of patients suffering from Parkinson's disease.
* A study at the University of Hertfordshire compared the fitness of ballet dancers to that of international swimmers. The dancers were found to be fitter than the swimmers in 7 out of 10 fitness categories.
* Dance pads, usually used for casual and recreational dancing have been shown to keep obesity in check and are being allowed and encouraged in schools.
* Dancing also improves muscle tone.
Despite all these benefits, dance comes with a few cautions, as with any other form of exercise. The same warm up routine that one does before an actual workout is expected before dancing too. In the ballet form, it is recommended that people dance on sprung floors that absorb impacts better after jumps. Wear the appropriate attire and shoes for the dance form you have enrolled for.
Hydration is necessary before, during, and after the routine. It is necessary to take proper rest after the routine. If you are a beginner, do not overexert yourself. In general, dancing is known to be a moderate form of exercise, but people may get carried away and exert themselves more. This may lead to injuries, so prevent overexertion. Before taking up a particular routine, consult your doctor about the risks it may pose to you. Tell the doctor of any previous injuries you may have had.
If these cautionary guidelines are followed, dance is truly fulfilling and an enjoyable form of exercising.