Dancing For Your Life!: Dancing Tips for Fun and Fitness

by Aija Paegle
Zumba

Twinkle your toes! Stomp, clap, slide and glide. Twirl and swirl to the rhythm of the music. Dancing is a way to express ourselves but also an expression of life. We dance to celebrate at weddings or parties because dancing and moving makes us happy. Movement energizes our muscles, bones and nerves, and when you add music- wow! Now you even make your brain happy, stimulated by rhythms sounds and space.

As countless Zumba® fans know, dance as exercise can have multiple benefits beyond the stronger, leaner muscles it develops. For example:

  • The frequent changes in direction while dancing make your body work to stay upright and in control, challenging your balance and proprioceptive system, which detects motion and the position of the body. Keeping your eyes on the horizon, as you do in many forms of dance, challenges your visual system as well.
  • Synchronizing movement with musical rhythms enhances coordination, timing and agility. The amount of attention this requires by multiple systems may even help with pain management.
  • Dancing can be enjoyed alone just like singing in the shower, but is often done with a group, offering a opportunity to be social – a basic human quality.

If it’s been a while since you’ve put on your dancing shoes, you may want to check out these things first:

  • If you have been recently sick or injured, ask you primary care physician if you are fit enough to participate. Also consult with your physician before starting an exercise regimen.
  • Speaking of shoes, have good, comfortable, supportive, non-slippery shoewear! Heels of reasonable height are okay,  NOT the 6” platforms, please!
  • Warm up and cool down properly. Just like any sport, dancing can challenge the strength and flexibility of your muscles, so prepare and take care of them. Take 5-15 minutes before you dance to warm up with stretches, walking or light movement exercises, and cool down with calf, hamstring and quad stretches immediately after you are done.

Aija Paegle is a physical therapist at the Integrative Care Center at Hospital for Special Surgery and former professional classical and modern dancer.

The Integrative Care Center at HSS offers a wide range of classes and educational workshops for promotion health and mind-body-spirit healing.

Topics: Facebook Notes, Rehabilitation and Fitness
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The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

Comments

nancy davies says:

I haven”t seen you since May or June at 635 Madison and I”ve lost your phone number —– I”ve been looking for you or someone who does myofacial massage or cranial therapy. I just found you on the internet—– Happy New Year! Do you work with your colleague Steve Kravitz or can I work with you in a setting other than PT which has not been that helpful? My neck pain is MUCH better after myofacial massage this summer. Hope you are well.

Best wishes – Nancy Davies

HSS on the Move says:

Hi Nancy, Thanks for your inquiry. If you wish to receive care at HSS, please call our HSS Integrative Care Center at 212-224-7900 for further assistance.

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