Dance is one of the most empowering, strengthening, and yet underrated forms of physical exercise.
The biggest body builder in the world pales in comparison to the power of a professional ballerina, who is able to veil his/her strength with grace.
I was a dancer for 17 years, and I practiced various forms including ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary. While I have been absent from dance for 3 years, there are core dance values that I still hold, which improve my physical health daily.
A secret to dance is breathing. Breaths must be balanced and equal in order to have gracefulness and make movements seem effortless. Breathing is the foundation of all other themes of dance.
As a new dancer one of my pitfalls was holding my breath. When I would concentrate on a new movement, I would hold my breath as a result of over-concentrating.
Many strict, professional ballet teachers would harshly demand that I relax my lips and my face, because ballerinas have to be seen as “pretty”.
Today, this thoughtful reminder to breathe has improved my physical health on a daily basis. Even in stressful situations, I am able to keep my breathing at a calm, even rate. This maintains my blood pressure and decreases stress.
If you are a dancer, or would like to think like one, think “ballerina” whenever you are stressed and watch as those deep breaths relax your body and put a smile on your face.
Do you ever wonder how a dancer can pirouette (spin) five times perfectly without falling? This is a result of amazing balance.
As a dancer you will spend countless hours on one leg, in the middle of the dance floor, holding on to nothing, balancing.
Superior balance is built from superior core strength and who doesn’t love a strong core?
Thanks to my years spent as a dancer, my core is solid. It allows me to balance holding a toddler in each arm. It allows me to bounce the baby while pouring a glass of apple juice.
And it allows me to hold a sleepy baby while catching a falling bike before it topples my toddler (this happened to me today).
If you’re looking for core muscles of steel, the ability to be a super-mom on a regular basis, or a fun way to get into great physical health, you can ditch the 100 sit-ups and take a dance class!
Having good posture is one of my favorite benefits of dance. All forms of dance require shoulders back, neck long, back straight, and you look poised to perfection.
In the workplace, good posture makes you appear confident and professional. In athletics, good posture equates to good form. In everyday life one of my favorite compliments is that I have great posture.
For the most part, my posture comes naturally from years of dance, but occasionally I have to remind myself. It’s a good reminder because having good posture means your body is constantly focusing on using muscles to maintain shape.
Working your muscles even in the slightest way is more beneficial than slumping your body.
Dancers have some of the greatest overall body strength. Leaping 5+ feet in the air while landing gracefully requires strength from your head to your toes. I can attribute my total body strength to dance.
Dance has created the foundational muscles that allow me to perform a variety of other exercises with ease. My core is stronger than most when I need to perform sit-ups at the gym. My legs are stronger than most when I need to jump high in volleyball.
And as I mentioned before, my arms are surprisingly very strong when carrying two babies. My body is not ultra muscular.
Dance creates a quiet strength and tones the body in all the perfect places. So if you’re looking for graceful strength, I highly recommend taking a dance class or two.
Stamina is the powerhouse of all dance abilities. Stamina is performing three or four 2-3 minutes routines, without a break.
And each of those routines is like a fresh start. There are just as many leaps, turns, kicks, and twists in each, and the look on your face has to appear relaxed and refreshed the whole time.
As a woman, stamina is my greatest asset. Taking on the multiple roles in a day- mom, wife, chef, maid, artist, requires stamina. And of course, running, chasing, playing cars, going to the park, and giving baths, require stamina.
I can proudly say that within a day I can do it all (with a smile on my face) and feel less tired than I would without good stamina.
When it comes down to it, I probably dance everyday. Not only are these 5 abilities improving my daily physical health, but also dancing itself. I dance with my little ones, even in the kitchen. This gets my heart rate going and theirs too.
This releases happy endorphins and decreases stress. Occasionally, I dance with my husband (those couple dance classes were well worth it).
The health benefits of dance are limitless and the best part is everyone can do it.