Dancing is a fun and social way of getting regular exercise, but it’s also terrific at toning up your muscles and trimming down the fat. Each style benefits a different set of muscles, so why not try each one in turn, and watch your whole body tone up.
Swing into action
Any of the swing-based dances – Lindy Hop, Charleston or Jive – are performed from a low position, with the legs bent and the weight forward on the balls of your feet. To master this technique requires great strength in the calves, thighs and glutes, as well as a solid core to keep your balance.
Waltz away your waist
The slower, more elegant ballroom dances, such as the Waltz, are perfect for your posture, requiring a straight back and long neck at all times. Maintaining the correct distance away from your partner at both the waist and chest takes unparalleled core stability, giving you abs to die for. An additional benefit of a toned tummy is that it will in turn strengthen your weight-bearing bones, which can help prevent osteoporosis as you get older.
Fast dances, such as the Salsa and Cha Cha, help with one of the biggest muscles: your memory. Not only do you need precise movement from the hips and feet, but you also need it in double-quick time. You cannot fail to improve your brainpower and co-ordination as you master these steps, as well as getting lean, lithe legs.
Strike a pose
If you are looking to lose the bingo wings, try something dramatic and emotionally charged like the Tango or Flamenco, where you use your arms as well as your legs to convey the passion of the dance. Be warned, you might get more than a little hot under the collar.
Look after yourself
As you lose weight and gain definition, it is important to look after your muscles; warm up with a minute of Jumping Jacks and then spend five minutes stretching all your muscles to preserve their flexibility. By strengthening your muscles, you will also help keep your joints in good shape, setting you in good stead to still be swinging well into your seventies.
Probably the best all-round workout dance is ballet, but we don’t expect you to go to that level of discipline or don a tutu! Come down to Arthur Murray to find out which set of muscles you fancy dancing to define.
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