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Dance Away the Weight!

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As bikini season comes into full swing, become more fit by trying a dance workout. You will have a blast twirling to the music while shedding away a few pounds.

Alejandra Tudela Herandez, a physical trainer who runs Mariposa Fit, has also been a Zumba instructor for four years.

Alejandra has seen the benefits of dance workouts. Not only does dancing improve cardio, but it also works a wide range of muscle groups.

“Your heart is definitely worked the most, but it also works your motor skills and your ability to perceive your surroundings,” Alejandra adds. As oxygen is pumped through your legs and arms to do a Cha-Cha your body becomes stronger.

Hip Hop Hustle

Hip Hop Hustle is a dance class that is similar to Zumba. You will body roll and two-step to all your favorite pop songs. Strenuous cardio becomes a breeze as you bop and sing along to the music.

Irish Jig

Kelly McCourt, a two-time North American Irish Dance Champion who has competed all over the globe and has placed tenth at the Worlds Competition, knows the benefits of dancing.

“Dancing competitively gave me an opportunity to challenge myself. I was able to push myself physically and mentally.”

Kelly also forgets that she is actually working out when she dances. It is so fun to jump and spin that she only realizes how tired she is after finishing her Irish jig.

Bokwa

Another great way to meet new people this summer: the brand new fitness workout called Bokwa. Instead of following a strict choreography, you move along to the music while making shapes and letters with your body during this workout. There are many modifications for the moves so that everyone can get the workout they desire from the class.

As you move through space with the melody, dancing helps to improve coordination, agility and flexibility. Alejandra adds that dance classes help to improve mental functioning. It is challenging to remember steps and to keep with the beat.

Dancing may also improve your state of mind. As you become more fit, dancers say you will feel great about yourself. And the endorphins released while you dance will help you go through the rest of your day with a smile on your face.

Plus Kelly adds that dancing, “makes you work hard and sweat just like any other sport!”

Barre

Barre classes will not only make you sweat but will help you tone your body so you can feel healthy for the warm summer months and beyond. As you plié on the ballet barre, you will be strengthening your calves, thighs, glutes, and core all while improving your balance. This workout will bring you back in time to ballet class and you will definitely feel the burn!

Cross-Train

“The human body is amazing. No matter what we throw at it, it adapts, and it adapts quickly.” Alejandra says that this is why athletes will ‘plateau’ and not see the results they are looking for no matter how hard they work out.

“You are not going to get continuous growth or strength using the same program week in and week out. The human body adapts to the stress too fast. Once your body adapts to the stress level of your current routine you will not see any changes.”

Alternating your runs and spinning classes with a Zumba, Hip Hop, or Barre class will provide the change needed in your fitness schedule to boost muscle growth.

Kelly has Irish Danced for many years. She stresses that it is important to cross-train no matter what type of exercise you are doing. Kelly has seen many injuries amongst her fellow dancers and knows that,”Working only the same muscles often leads to over-use injuries.”

If you get lonely or bored running on the treadmill, advocates say dance fitness classes provide some extra motivation. Alejandra mentions that for people who usually don’t workout, it starts with motivation from other people in the class as well as a dynamic instructor to get people moving and grooving.

Power in Numbers

Kelly loves the friendships she has made over the years. She continues to do team dancing and explains that,”It is less intense physically, but it focuses more on the finer details of the dance, such as creating shapes with other dancers. It is a great way to de-stress and work as a team with friends.”

One of the best parts of doing a dance workout may be that you can add as much personal flair to the moves as you want. If you want to add in a hair flip or a shimmy, you can do that! Alejandra says, “I break all rules and make my own. It makes it fun and challenging.”

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