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Dancing your way to fitness

Dancing is seen as either something you’re good at, or something at which you fail miserably. And yet nearly everyone does it, whether they drunk dance in a club or actually join a dance club. So is dancing the future replacement of the much-feared gym session and the best way to tackle health issues in the UK?

Many people fear going to the gym and there are many reasons for this. What if you are using the equipment in the wrong way? You don’t want people to see you struggling and sweating in between pull-ups. What if it’s busy and people are using all of the weight machines? Will I look good in my gym outfit? Will I even end up going after spending all of that money?

All these concerns about taking a trip to the gym are irrelevant when you can dance away in the kitchen to your favourite music, or buy a Zumba DVD and do it from home. This is just as effective as going to the gym: Bupa physiotherapist Lucy Rath explains that “you can burn over 400 calories in an hour. Dance also makes your muscles work hard, which helps to maintain and improve strength.” She further points out that it “requires you to use lots of different parts of your body” and “it all works on your concentration, coordination, balance and agility.” All of this, without the monetary issues and concerns you have about exercising in public.

You can dance away in the kitchen to your favourite music, or buy a Zumba DVD and do it from home

If you feel like you won’t be productive at home, you could go to a dance class in your local gym. There are so many different styles of dance to try: jazz, hip-hop, tap and ballet are just a few. This eliminates the idea that dance as exercise will become ‘regimented’ or that it isn’t for everybody. Listening to pumping club music or current pop tracks distracts you from the fact that you are working out and suddenly you’re enjoying exercise. A couple of weeks later your fitness has improved, you’ve gained muscle, you’ve lost weight, and it will come as a surprise that it was all due to you having a good time.

Further benefits of dancing include its social aspect. Going to a class helps you meet new people and widen your social circle. Dance also improves your posture. Whereas in the gym you are alone and can forget about different aspects of fitness, dance classes work on technique to help keep your body poised throughout.

Your fitness has improved, you’ve gained muscle, you’ve lost weight, and it will come as a surprise that it was all due to you having a good time

For me, dance has always just been a fun hobby, but according to research from the University of Brighton, it burns more calories than running, swimming or cycling. The difference is that you don’t have random people staring at you whilst you work up a sweat at the machines, you don’t need any special equipment, and you don’t need to do it competitively. You can do it from the comfort of your home or join a local club and meet new people. It’s a social way to exercise and a healthy way to channel your inner Beyoncé. You won’t even realise you’re exercising and within a few weeks you’ll start seeing the results.

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