Simone De La Rue is a dancer, personal trainer, and the founder of the popular dance cardio workout Body By Simone. In Simone’s class Dance Workouts To Boost Happiness you’ll gain strength, cultivate self-love, and become more joyful than ever.
Do you want to know the secret to rocking your fitness goals this year? Set a fun, inspiring fitness routine. It's something you should look forward to. People are busy. Days are filled with responsibilities, countless tasks, and priorities. If you are taking time out of your busy schedule, you expect fast, noticeable results. So this year, skip the repetitive scene of the gym and dance your way to a better body and mind while having fun.
Here are five compelling reasons to dance this year:
1. Dance is a total-body workout.
"Dancing combines cardiovascular, strength, balance, and flexibility components within the one activity, so it will complement all forms of activity and exercise,” explains exercise physiologist Carly Ryan. "You get aerobic exercise through jumping, swaying, and turning and anaerobic through holding positions such as squats and balancing poses. Your fitness routine should incorporate building lean muscle mass as well as calorie burning. This boosts your metabolism."
2. You won't plateau.
Once you start exercising regularly, it's easy to plateau. Plateauing is reaching a state of little or no change after a time of activity or progress. It is common in fitness when an exercise stays the same day after day.
However, dance involves constant movement that is never the same. Your body will be challenged every time. There are level changes, from high on your toes to down on the knees, tempo changes, fast, slow, still—and rhythm changes, regular to syncopated. There are infinite combinations that take place, whether it's shaking the hips to spike your heart rate, or moving just the waist to work the obliques. This prevents boredom and keeps the exercise stimulating. Dancing is not like jogging, spinning, or rowing, which targets the same muscles over and over. You'll stay motivated because you will see results in the mirror even after your body has adapted to the routine.
3. Dance fosters self-expression.
Dance is the only exercise that has an artistic component, which allows it to also serve as a form of therapy. Research shows the healing benefits of self-expression. You will approach a movement sequence in a different way based on your mood, thoughts, and emotions, and make it your own.
This connection between the way you move and how you are feeling promotes self-awareness, self-esteem, and a safe space for the expression of feelings. You can boost your mood and instantly feel better! Depending on what you need that day, the movements that are musically driven can energize you, calm you, or release pent-up emotions. So go ahead and exercise while getting rid of all the stress accumulated during that day. Feel your worries melt away as you lose yourself in the music.
4. You'll work on your mental mastery.
Through dancing, you are maximizing your brain functions. While you are pushing your body to the next level, your brain is trying to keep up with the sequence and dance patterns, while adding on to the previous steps you had mastered. Stanford University published a study on how dancing stimulates the mind and in doing so keeps it young, quick, alert, open, and fit, just like the body. The key is that "dancing integrates several brain functions at once—kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional—further increasing your neural connectivity."
What this means? You're utilizing your brain when you are recalling steps, trying to figure out certain moves, and keeping up with the music. So while working your body, you are also working your mind.
5. Dance is fun.
It's important to look forward to your fitness time. This ensures that your fitness goals will last beyond the early months of the year. The gym is usually just used to get a quick workout in. Dance, however, is an experience. You have to concentrate and be present in the moment. This creates something to look forward to instead of something to check off the to-do list. David Kahn, an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says that dancing "adds another aspect to exercise and its effect on our bodies and brains because it is a joyous activity." Dancing is unique in the way that you look forward to this time and know that you will come out the other end feeling high on life.
Taking the time to dance can be viewed as the opposite of cramming in a quick workout at the gym. Not only will your body be fitter, but your mind and emotions will be as well. Plus, you'll have fun doing it. With so many benefits, you can make time for this exercise routine and rock your fitness goals this year. Who doesn't want to feel alive?