Hot New Year’s Fitness Trend - Boogy to Better Health!
By Mel Fabrikant Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 10:10 AM EST
Whether it’s Tango, Tap, Swing or Salsa, Folks Turn to Dance as Fun Fitness Alternative
Self-improvement and weight loss are the most popular New Year’s Resolutions, but 40 percent of all folks will cancel their gym membership within six months of registering (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association). Bored with barbells? Tired of the treadmill? That’s why dance is the hot new fitness craze this year as a growing number of people trade in their cross trainers for dance shoes to shimmy into shape.
In a recent American College of Sports Medicine survey, the top 10 fitness trends of 2014 include weight loss, functional fitness (which is balance and stability training) and programs for older adults. Dance offers all three in a fun, creative space.
“Dance provides the health benefits people crave in an exhilarating environment that changes with new moves and easy-to-learn routines so you don’t get bored or frustrated,” says Jack Rothweiler, President and CEO of Fred Astaire Dance Studios. “There can be gain without pain! Studies prove dance helps people lose weight and feel better – both mentally and physically – while having a great time!”
Dancing the Pounds Away
Jim and Susan Long of Cary, NC promised each other they would try dancing one day. In the summer of 2010, a friend convinced them to take lessons at the local Fred Astaire Dance Studio. Just over a year later, Susan has not only increased her agility and mobility, but she’s dropped almost 20 pounds!
“I never cared for going to the gym,” says Long. “What I really love is that dancing is so much fun! We are healthier than ever and dancing has brought us closer together.”
Why It’s Better In the Ballroom…
Research conducted over the last 20 years reveals a long list of physical, mental and emotional benefits from dancing.
• Weight Loss– Studies show that dancing continuously for 30 minutes has the same impact on weight loss as walking, swimming, or cycling (Mayo Clinic).
• Consistency counts - A weekly dance program improves physical performance and increases energy levels among adults (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).
• Heart Health - Consistent social dance exercise leads to a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels (Mayo Clinic).
• Bone up – Even if you’ve got two left feet, you’ll want them to remain strong! Dancing boosts bone density, along with muscle strength and coordination (American Council on Exercise).
• Fight off the Flu - Dancing increases the rate at which antibodies flow through the blood stream, boosting immunity. The increased body temperature generated during moderate exercise can help prevent bacterial growth which causes the flu (National Institute of Health).
• Stress Buster!– Research reveals dancing with a partner or by yourself to music is a great way to relieve stress (Journal of Applied Gerontology)
• Tango on – In a study of 100 adults, doing the tango resulted in lower levels of depression, stress and anxiety (Complimentary Therapies in Medicine). Tango dance also lessened the degree of sleep disturbance and insomnia (Dr. Rhonda Brown University of New England in Australia).
Dance Benefits for Seniors
• In a 20-year study of more than 500 senior citizens, ages 75 and older, dancing was the only physical activity that prevented people from developing dementia as they age. (New England Journal of Medicine)
• The side-to-side motions of many ballroom dances, such as mambo and swing, strengthen the tibia, fibula, and femur, and also help in the prevention or slow loss of bone mass associated with osteoporosis (Journal of Aging and Physical Activity).
• Tango dancing helps older adults with balance (Journal of Aging and Physical Activity).
• Social dancing is a great way to keep older Americans engaged. Aside from giving people something to enjoy, it reduces social isolation and even the aches and pains frequently experienced in old age (Dr. Jonathan Skinner, Queens University of Belfast, Ireland).
Come interview folks who have started dancing as their New Year’s fitness regimen. Talk to our students - young and old – and our dance instructors about the health benefits of dance. Plus, learn a few moves while you’re at it!