Besides the social benefits of dancing, participating in a regular program of dancing will produce significant mental and physical health benefits. Dancing is a great stress reliever. It also stimulates the brain, builds confidence and helps you be more attentive. It has also been proven to offer great physical benefits as it tones the whole body in an enjoyable exercise.
Israel Rodriguez, guest performer for Orlando Ballet and former principal dancer for the organization, now teaches Latin cardio dance classes for Momentum, a newly formed organization focusing on young dancers. Rodriguez’ students say his classes beat staying home any day. “My students are able to move with more freedom [after taking classes],” he says. The Latin cardio classes concentrate on the entire body, important for overall health as dancing helps improve stamina for all kinds of movement. Rodriguez knows this first hand since he sustained an injury to his Achilles tendon and was unable to bear weight on that foot. But because of his perseverance and determination to continue to dance, he was able to make a complete recovery.
The Mayo Clinic research reports that social dancing helps to reduce stress, increase energy, improve strength and increase muscle tone and coordination. Whether you like to kick up your heals to hip hop, ballroom or the two-step, dancing can lower your risk of coronary heart disease, decrease your blood pressure, help you manage your weight and strengthen the bones in your legs and hips.
Kristin Weissman, owner and CEO of Studio K, a dance facility in Central Florida, opened the studio in Oct. 2010. The facility offers dance instructions for adults and young adults with the largest number of classes offered exclusively to ages 16 and up. Studio K is mainly for adults who want to improve cardiovascular health by dancing.
Weissman has 15 years’ experience with public relations and has been dancing since she was 3-years-old. The facility concentrates on technique and style with a cardio twist – designed to get participants heart rate up. There are high intensity dance classes with a concentration on cardio. There’s even a “Hip Hop Boot Camp” where you are “whipped” into shape, as well as a “Hoop Dance Class” concentrating on dance techniques using a hula hoop. Whether you want to learn the art of dance or simply want a fun way to workout, the studio offers classes for every level of experience and interest.
If ballroom dancing or ballet is not your cup of tea, why not try the latest craze, Zumba. “Ditch the workout – join the party!” is the official slogan for Zumba. It’s no surprise that it’s catching on like wildfire. Why? Zumba fitness classes are actually “dance” routines that are structured to be easy to follow but full of movement. You let go of your inhibitions and lose yourself in the rhythms. It’s all about the music. The mesmerizing sounds of salsa and merengue are the usual music choices for Zumba instructors, but every instructor is different and the selections are endless.
Attending a local Zumba class of 60 students, you are suddenly swept away with the music. Even students with little or no dancing technique find themselves joining in with little or no difficulty. Lisa Cotto, a student of Zumba at a local YMCA commented about the energy and spontaneity in the class saying, “When I burned 1,000 calories in one class, I knew I’d never be fat again!
Cotto dropped 70 pounds in four years after attending Zumba classes. She’s the poster child for dancing your way to a healthier lifestyle. Also of note are Zumba classes for kids, senior citizens, aqua aerobic classes, toning and Zumba Dance for the Wii has recently been launched.
With so many options, it’s hard not to get lost in the music.
Article by Leslie N. Dawson