Dance your way to wellness!
Dancing on stage or before the camera can transmit feelings or convey a story to an audience, while dancing for yourself can open up both your mind and body. Dance isn’t therefore just an art form or an expression, but also the key to your overall wellbeing.
I started dancing professionally when I was 13. During my journey, I realised that there was a gap between the artistic and wellness side of one the world’s oldest and most popular art forms.
To fill this void, I curated Dance Wellness, a dance routine designed to target both the mind and the body, while improving fitness, flexibility and balance. The movements sculpt the body while giving both cardio and muscle toning benefits. They also burn calories and improve your physical and mental endurance.
‘Dance Wellness’ is the world’s first such dance module and is a mixture of jazz, modern, contemporary and other dance genres. It targets the entire body: face, neck, hands, arms, back, legs, feet as well as isolations and breathing techniques.
The world needs dance, now more than ever. In this age of distant and online interactions, we need a reminder of the importance of physical interactions and the communication that our bodies can achieve and accomplish.
Move your body
Interested in dance? Just do it!
You don’t need to be a professional to begin: Non-professionals can join a dance class to learn a style, for fun, toning your body or just building your confidence levels.
Choose a style, rhythm or pace that suits you: Most dance schools offer classes based on either your age or a dance genre. Pick a style or music genre which stimulates you.
Find a teacher or dance studio that offers you the style that you are looking for: Some dance styles focus on fitness while others strictly emphasise learning the genre or style itself.
Sign up for private or group dance classes: The smaller the class size, the more personalised attention you are likely to get from the instructor. Ideally the class size should be under six people.With social distancing norms in place, you can also opt for online classes.
Dancing does not have a minimum or maximum age: At our studio, the youngest student is four years old and the oldest is 86. Both are fabulous dancers, equally motivated to perform.
Be regular: I normally suggest dancing at least thrice a week, if not daily. The more regular you become, the better you will feel.
Last but not the least, dancing is for everyone: Dancing transcends cultural, economic, gender and social barriers. All you need to do is follow the rhythm and get your feet, body and soul moving!
Ten ways science says dancing works for wellness
1.Stress: Dancing reduces symptoms of depression, is a mood elevator and lifts the spirits by stirring up the endorphins in your brain.
2.Fighting disease: When you dance on a regular basis, you strengthen your body and regulate all its functions. This supports the immune system in its fight against germs. It reduces the risk of upper respiratory tract infections including the common cold.
3.Cholesterol & cardio health: Regular dancing lowers blood fat, bad cholesterol and improves cardio health because, while dancing, your heart rate stays steady while blood circulation improves and oxygen is pumped into your lungs.
4.Cognitive function: Dance improves verbal fluency, delayed recall and boosts memory function by making the brain respond faster. Regular dancing has been shown to help keep Alzheimer’s at bay.
5.Anti-ageing benefits: Dancing involves all your muscle groups and allows you to move and function with ease, thus counteracting physical and mental age-related decline and preventing arthritic pain.
6.Weight loss & toning: Dancing, which involves the whole body, makes you flexible, lose weight, targets specific areas as well as builds and tones your muscles. Some dance styles can make you burn between 300 and 500 calories an hour!
7.Mental alertness: Dancing improves your mental alertness levels and your ability to focus and reduces the risk of dementia.
8.Balance: Dancing improves the balance of your body by coordinating and stabilising movements.
9.Bone health: Regular dancing makes your bones stronger. Over time, it builds bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
10. Endurance: Dancing leads to increased muscular strength, endurance and stamina.
*Anything loose or too tight can hinder movement so wear clothes that fit you well and allow you to move with ease.
*A fitted t-shirt, top or sports top is ideal. If its tight, make sure it’s stretchable and breathable. If you sweat a lot, wear something sleeveless or absorbent to keep you well ventilated.
*For lowers, choose between leggings, flared pants, capris, sweat or track pants. Just make sure your pants aren’t too long and obstructive. You may also wear shorts of any length.
*Men should wear snug fit underwear for optimum support. Ladies must always wear a well-fitted sports bra.
*For the sake of personal hygiene, carry a clean towel to your dance class. Use a deodorant before the class.
*Wear cotton socks that absorb sweat. Barefoot dancing is not safe, unless you are dancing on grass or on the beach!
*Wear shoes that offer optimum support and prevent injury. Sneakers or runners are good, as long as they fit well, allow you to move with ease and are light and comfortable.
(Inputs from image, grooming & fashion consultant, Yatan Ahluwalia)
Author bio: The author is the curator of Dance Wellness and creative director and co-founder of You Can Dance!
From HT Brunch, May 24, 2020
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