Tired of the treadmill? Worn down by weights? Lethargic after leg day? Exercise isn’t as exciting anymore as the day you made the resolution to get fit? While the alternatives to getting and staying fit abound, one form has stood a testament to tenacity, longevity, and even fun – Dance! And as an exercise format it has more than its share of takers and keepers.

STAYING FIT
No one's ever achieved financial fitness with a January resolution that's abandoned by February. - Suze Orman

Everybody has danced at some point in their life and it can be a liberating experience. It’s why dance floors are the sweatiest yet happiest spaces. When incorporated into one’s fitness regime, it provides a host of benefits not just physically, but mentally as well. It has led to a dancercise culture that clearly makes people stick to their New Year’s resolutions way beyond the normal February resolution dissolution. “Working out in a gym gets monotonous for many people,” points out Petra Fernandes, a trainer currently with E7 Dance Fitness and Pole Star Mumbai. “Dance fitness, no matter how many times you repeat it, offers something different and novel each time. You use muscles you don't normally use, and the coolest aspect of the workout is what keeps many coming back for more. It also works as a distraction from anything you might be going through personally or professionally.”

Dancercise affords one to spend time with your body in an intimate embrace of the movement. It enables us to work through our emotions as well as the stress of any day. “Your rhythmic movements grant your brain the rest it needs, while your body follows a beat,” explains Neha John, Owner, Elan Dance & Movement, who believes that most people focus on intellectual memory not muscle memory. “We do not often realise that the human body has a memory of its own. Every muscle, every cell; has its own instinct. We have never explored this because we never take the time to get to know our own body. Dancing allows us this time.” With each discovery, we gain an insight that not many gym workouts provide. Suddenly, it’s not just about losing that flab but getting fit, it’s not about the stress of the day, but letting it all go; and it’s not about the pain, but how much more I can stretch my body today in new ways and push the fitness envelope; thus preventing many injuries and speeding up healing.

STIMULATING MOVEMENT
Dance never really goes away; it just reforms and reinvents, and it's become more athletic with new connections to fitness and sport. - Bonnie Langford

Ever since the lines between dance and exercise have merged, people have begun to realise that you move in different ways than in regular life with dancing. The supply of dance moves available to anyone interested in dancercise is endless. From barre workouts, Pilates, and interval dance training to Zumba, Jazzercise, Hip Hop dance, and more, there is a style to suit every body type, state of mind, and passion. “Dance has the unique quality of being both; aerobic – requiring free oxygen - like running, cycling, etc. and anaerobic – active in the absence of oxygen – which includes movements like sprinting, weight lifting, etc. It is aerobic in nature as it stimulates the heart and lungs,” clarifies Venancio, founder, Ultimate Workouts and The X Training System, among other workout specials. “But on the other side, it can be anaerobic as well if the dance activity is performed at very high intensity. The energy one expends, of course, depends solely on the person dancing. An aerobic dance workout, for example, can burn approximately 400 plus calories in an hour.”

One can be assured of the health benefits and that they equal that of going to a gym and range from the physical to the emotional. It increases one’s fitness level, reduces the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, etc., elucidates Venancio. “It strengthens one’s joints and bones, helps posture, and tones the body. It is also a great way to increase litheness because every dance form requires one to stretch before you begin and stretch after you have finished. It is an entertaining activity, so it keeps everyone motivated, content, and in a good frame of mind.”

EXPERIENCE THE EXERCISE
When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way. - Wayne Dyer

Dance is a creative form. After one learns the basics, the dance floor becomes but a canvas. It is thus not a form of exercise any person gets bored of easily. Every dance teacher encourages their students to explore their limits, deems Neha. “A teacher can teach you steps and technique, much like a chef can prepare a dish for you. But the experience of the dance or the meal comes from you! Every routine or phrase you learn in a dance class is bare until you fill it with your personality.” Dance is an innate instinct and once you’ve learnt a specific technique or get familiar with the movement, you can experiment and exercise anywhere. “The focus of these activities is to get the heart rate up and increase circulation, which in turn increases your metabolism and aids in weight loss,” simplifies Neha. “Dance as a form of exercise, is like eating ice-cream for a living - it can’t be work if you love it so much! Hence making it as important a workout for your body as well as your soul.”

APP-INESS ALL AROUND
Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor. - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Dance floors have been fitness spaces since time immemorial. With the continuous introduction of technology, it comes as a pleasant surprise that there’s an app that adds to the dancercise experience of a user, while pushing the envelope for the dance fitness space for individuals as well as trainers by taking the dance floor to the living room or one’s own specific playground! Danceright is a first of its kind Bollywood dance fitness mobile application, where users can view and dance to choreographed videos, made to the latest Bollywood tracks. “The app is gamified through your sports bands, tracks your activity while you dance, and rewards you with points,” illustrates Imran Sayed, director and choreographer Imran Sayed Entertainment/Danceright. “These points then act as a currency that can be exchanged for discounts that can be used to shop for absolutely anything online. The more you learn (dance), the more you burn (calories), the more you earn (discounts)! #learnburnearn he enthuses. “We realized that people want to exercise, but don't seem to find the time, or, on the other hand, get easily bored with doing gym workouts. We wanted to find a way to be able to bring fitness into people’s homes, which gets them off the couch and doing something enjoyable that they look forward to everyday. Danceright aims at just that - a perfect blend between fun & fitness.” Certainly ‘app-ealing’, isn’t it?  

SUNSHINE ON YOUR SHOULDER
Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live. Jim Rohn

We essentially love the concept of movement. There is no wrong or right way to dance. All we need is ourselves. Age, sex, or gender no bar. You create your own rhythm and dance your way to a fitter you. Dancercise not only brings out a stronger core, more flexibility, balance and co-ordination, and strength, but also improves memory, allows for a mental escape, while making space for you to tap into your creative side. It allows you to dress up in costume, add colour to your exercise regime, and overall, make training yourself a happier experience.

 

About the Author
Ayesha Dominica 
A fiercely independent freelance writer, she has been published regularly since age 13, including 6 years at the Express Group. When she isn’t putting pen to paper, she is an artist manager and a curator.

 

 

 

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