Working out has been a big priority for me recently for both vanity and health reasons (shrugs). I want a toned and fit body and I know I can achieve it with discipline. Also, with recently turning 30, it is imperative that I form healthy habits as I age. I figured the longer I wait, the harder it will be. I’ve tried working out in the past and it didn’t do it for me. I would get bored or discouraged and just stop doing it. I realized the best way to be consistent with something is to not only be disciplined but to also fall in love with the process. It’s easier to do something you actually love than to do something you have no joy or connection with.
In an attempt to fall in love with fitness, I found activities to do outside of the gym. I started indoor rock climbing, yoga, and recently dance workout classes. I love all of them but the dance workout class is what I love the most! It’s both fun and challenging, it’s upbeat and has a ton of benefits. I joined the AKT dance studio here in Atlanta and here’s why it may be the best way to get active.
You burn calories.
Dancing is an effective way to lose weight because you burn a good number of calories and build lean muscle. Different dance classes can yield different results. For example, the workout class I take at AKT is a hip-hop and pop dance class. Hip-hop classes are typically faster and high intensity which causes more calorie burn as opposed to something like ballroom dancing. If done frequently it can also increase your endurance and stamina.
Courtesy of Krissy Lewis
You can tone your body.
If weight is not your primary goal, that’s okay, you can also tone your body. At AKT, they incorporate bands and weights in their classes. The weights target the back, arms, and leg muscles and if you engage your core it can help tone your stomach. The bands help with strength training and muscle build-up. Resistance bands do the same thing bulky exercise equipment does and provides similar gains.
In addition to the gains you get, the use of bands can also increase endurance, muscle activation, body composition, and flexibility.
It can improve your mental health.
Research shows that dancing can reduce stress and anxiety while improving your mood overall. Dancing releases endorphins and other positive hormones into your system to boost happiness and positive thoughts. According to WebMD, it’s a way to escape negative thoughts and worries.
Dance classes are usually in a group setting, and with this, you also gain a sense of community and feel connected to other people.
Courtesy of Krissy Lewis
It improves your brain function.
Dance workouts are a great way to sharpen your brain functions and coordination. When I took my first class, I couldn’t believe how uncoordinated I was. I haven’t done any workout that required me to learn an entire routine on the spot at such a fast pace since cheerleading in high school. That triggered a new opportunity for growth for me. I want to challenge myself to learn things quicker and soak in information better.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the cerebellum (a small part of your brain located in the back of your head) is responsible for coordinating muscle movement, sense of timing, balance, and learning new skills. So if you’re looking for ways to sharpen your mind, this is a great start.
It improves your quality of sleep.
Exercising earlier in the day and more frequently has been shown to reduce insomnia and decrease the amount of time it actually takes to fall asleep. According to John Hopkins Medicine, exercise raises your core body temperature which alerts the body clock. After about 30 minutes, our body temperature starts to fall which causes us to feel sleepy. The bottom line is exercise can provide energy but once that adrenaline wears off, it signals the body to sleep better and faster.
If done consistently, dance workouts can lead to positive effects that your mind and body will thank you for. It’s also pretty affordable. I signed up for three classes for $39 and most studios work with ClassPass. Also, some gym memberships offer dance workouts, so your opportunity is endless. If you’re interested in giving AKT a try, click here to find a studio near you.
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