Crossfit, gyms, hiking, running, weight training… everyone has their own ways and means of staying healthy. All these usual suspects of physical movement have their benefits. But one activity is sorely overlooked when it comes to being utilized for benefiting your health and happiness.

Dancing. Whether you are throwing shapes at the disco, or waltzing your partner around a ballroom, dancing is a criminally overlooked method of staying in shape.

Dancing targets 4 keys elements of physical fitness.

1) Flexibility.

Most dance classes will often have their members stretch and warm up before they begin, as will most seasoned dancers. Most forms of dance require motions that require bending and stretching, so that means that regular dancing means that you become more flexible and supple than before.  Having a wider range of motion through repeated stretching means muscles are utilized much more, both on and off the dancefloor.

2) Endurance.
Exercise, when done regularly, increases endurance. Dancing requires the individual to go through continues motions for lengths of time without stopping and through this, endurance is built. Line dancing and ballroom dancing are superb examples of continuous motion. Elevating the heart rate can increase stamina and dance is ideal for this.

During the 1930’s to the 1960’s, dance marathons were very popular. These in themselves were actually endurance events. Anyone remember that episode of Happy Days when Fonzie blew everyone away?

3) Strength.
Strength is defined as the ability of a muscle to exert a force against resistance. Consider the styles of dance such as be-bop, ballet and ballroom. Even elements of jazz have moves that require leaping and jumping in the air. A male ballet dancer will more often than not lift and hold his partner for great lengths at a time, display awesome examples of strength. When was the last time you saw an unfit ballet dancer?

4) Sense of well being.
Hundreds of reports have shown that strong social ties and socializing with friends contribute to high self-esteem and a positive outlook. Dancing, in its many forms offer opportunities for meeting people and interacting with them. Joining a dance class of any style will mean you socialize more, increasing confidence and social skills.  Because physical exertion of any kind relieves stress and tension, you can literally dance yourself happy.

Dancing is a great active recovery that will help for better coordination. As dancing is movement to a beat, but is interpreted totally by the listener, those movements are improvised actions and motions. This in itself is perfect for Spartan Races, as improvised movement  a core element of what is expected of every racer. Not every track, trail, hill or obstacle is the same. You will have to improvise motion and movement. As such, the flexibility and ability to improvise movement in order to overcome is perfectly set up by regular dancing. 

So why not check out your local community? Take on a dance class. Something you’d never done or experienced. Something alien to you that will not only open a new avenue of socializing you’ve never done, but you might find a new range of motions, flexibility and muscle groups that haven’t been tested quite as much before. Afraid of the unfamiliar? That’s not the Spartan way!

And you thought we played music at events as chewing gum for the ears!  Get to a Spartan Race and shake your funky stuff!

Check out this video of the Nicholas Brothers’ routine from the film “Stormy Weather” featuring the late, great Cab Calloway. Fayard and Harold are still heralded as two of the finest tap dancers of all time, with this scene and routine being heralded by Fred Astaire as the greatest ever filmed.
Check out the box jumps, leg strength, flexibility and endurance.

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