Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Keeping Fit by Learing to Hip Hop Dance, Salsa Dance and Tap Dance

The surge of televised dancing shows in recent years has taken dance into the mainstream not only as an art form, but as a fun and challenging way to lose weight and stay in shape. Dancing is the perfect aerobic activity for those who easily grow bored with exercise for the sake of exercise and want to learn a skill they can use when they go out on weekends. Some of the health benefits enjoyed by dancers include: reduced stress, increased strength in the leg and hip bones, increased energy, a lowered risk of coronary heart disease, decreased blood pressure, improved muscle tone and coordination, and an improvement of overall strength. All these benefits are of course in addition to the immediate benefit of calories burned while dancing, which for a 150lb person is 344 per hour. It is also important to keep in mind that the style of dancing you choose can increase health benefits, as some are more rigorous than others, and may therefore tone muscles more effectively and burn more calories. However, regardless of the style, your age or skill level, there is almost guaranteed to be a dancing class suited for you, whether it be at your gym or with the local school district's adult enrichment program.

Hip Hop Dance and Strong Core Muscles

Hip hop dancing is the most popular style of dancing among younger generations and those who are looking to get lean. Because it is improvisational in nature, dancers of all skill levels can take what they've learned from a few hip hop dancing lessons and easily choreograph their own dance and practice at home to improve their skill. Breaking, popping, and locking make up the foundation of hip hop dancing, and require the development of muscle strength, balance, and control in order for the dancer to advance. This makes the core muscles the most important muscle group in hip hop dancing. Training with medicine balls, which are available in different weights at your gym, is an excellent way to stabilize your core. Work with your trainer to incorporate medicine balls and dance moves in your workout; this will improve your muscle memory and ensure the muscles you're strengthening are the muscles you'll be using on the dance floor. Hip hop dancing also relies heavily on the arms and pectorals, especially while breaking. Push ups are the best way to build these muscles, as the exercise is similar to the movement used in breaking.

The Benefits and Risks of Salsa Dancing

Salsa dancing is a favorite for all ages, known for it's lively and upbeat pace and cultural background. Constant weight shifting with taps, kicks, and pauses make leg strength and stability particularly crucial. While lean, sculpted, and visibly strong legs are a hallmark of proficient salsa dancing, beginners should come to the table with reasonable leg and ankle strength to avoid injury (women who aren't accustomed to wearing heels must be especially careful). In addition, salsa dancing calls for superb posture which strengthens back muscles and is good for the spine, and continuous arm movements which rely on the shoulders for unwavering support. Utilizing the barbell squat machine at your gym will prove helpful in conditioning your upper legs, back, and shoulders, and will provide further definition in these areas. For the caloric-focused, salsa dancing can almost always be kicked into high gear by dancing to faster music, embellishing arm movements, maintaining muscle activation throughout movements, and so on (extra effort equals extra burned calories).

Learn to Dance with Tap Dancing

Tap dancing allows the dancer to follow the beat of a different drummer: themselves. Shuffling, flapping, alternating from the ball of one foot to the other, and brushing are used to create rhythimic patterns along with engaging the rest of the body through choreography, and provides a continually challenging aerobic workout. The legs, knees, and hips are largely responsible for maintaining the body's stability while tap dancing, and must do so while maintaining the utmost control and coordination of the feet, which must have the appearance of being light. This added stress factor forces the dancer to train their legs and glutes, making them lean and solid, while practicing the choreography of routines with equal fervor in order to develop muscle memory.