Mix Up Your Workouts – Taking a Dance Class

Have you seen the bodies of the stars on television’s popular “Dancing with the Stars” show? No doubt you’ve heard about them even if you’ve never seen the show and for good reason – the stars on this show are often more fit and have better bodies than ever before, and they attribute it all to dance. So if you’re thinking it’s time to mix up your workouts, consider taking a dance class.

Make no doubt about it – dance is a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of hard work. If you aren’t ready for the amount of physical activity that’s involved in a Latin dance or salsa class, that’s OK. There are a variety of dancing styles and classes that can accommodate you whatever your starting fitness level may be.

First, give some thought to the type of dance that might interest you. Are you interested in dancing primarily for social reasons while getting a little exercise on the side? T hen ballroom dance might be a good choice for you. Looking for something that will really make you sweat? Then think tap dancing, Irish dancing or maybe one of the new Bollywood or Zumba classes. Or are you thinking that something more “middle of the road” might be for you? Surprisingly, belly dancing just might fit the bill.

Consider also whether you want to dance alone or with a partner. If you do choose a style that requires a partner, you’ll learn more if you change partners from time to time, so look for a class with lots of other couples.

Once you have an idea of the kind of dance you want to try, find out if you can observe a class or visit a class before you sign up. We all do better with different types of instructors and you need to find a good fit in terms of style and instruction to get the most out of the class. You want a class small enough that you can get some personal attention to make sure you’re doing the moves properly and you might want to sit in on a number of different classes before you commit to one.

In addition, you may also need some special attire for the class you have chosen, particularly for your feet. Some dance classes are performed barefoot, while others require special dancing shoes. These shoes are usually leather soled and flexible, while still providing support for your feet. Your instructor can tell you what kind of shoes and dress are required or recommended. Usually, you’ll want relatively form-fitting clothing so that your instructor can see if you’re moving your body properly. For example, if you’re taking a class that calls for skirts or scarves, do use them – they can make a difference in how you move.

Above all, have fun and keep moving. The advantage dance has over many other forms of exercise is that it doesn’t feel like exercise – you’ll be having so much fun that you won’t even notice you’re getting healthier with each class.