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Updated 06 February 2015

Salsa your way to fitness

You don’t need to be super-slick or ultra-trim to be able to dance. You just need to be ready and willing. After a few sessions the steps will start coming automatically – and so will the rewards.

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You don’t need to be super-slick or ultra-trim to be able to dance. You just need to be ready and willing. After a few sessions the steps will start coming automatically – and so will the rewards.

Health benefits of dancing

Posture

Dancing helps you stand tall and it spontaneously pulls your spine up straight. Walking upright eventually becomes a habit.

Balance

This is essential when you’re performing dance moves.

Heart

A good hour-long dance session can push your heart rate up to 120 beats per minute – the same as aerobic exercise. You’ll burn more or less the same amount of kilojoules when you walk briskly for 5km.

Muscles

The exertion dance demands of your muscles helps to tone your arms and legs. Over time you’ll see your upper arms, calves and thighs firm up. 

Bones

Graceful dance moves keep bones strong without putting unnecessary strain on the joints. Dance promotes bone density and therefore helps to prevent osteoporosis.

Confidence

Dancing for or with people boosts self-confidence. Few of us wouldn’t be proud of performing a faultless tango!

Body and soul

Many studies have investigated the therapeutic and meditative effects of dance on the body. According to psychologist Dr Melléta Louw, “The combination of music and movement brings your body and soul together in a world that often puts too much emphasis on the external world.”

The challenge factor

The steps are easy to learn and the relaxed style doesn't depend on perfect technique.

Why it's good for you


Many of us spend most of our time hunched over a computer, which means our core muscles – the abs and lower back – get weaker and weaker. 


Salsa is good exercise for these muscles, which are responsible for keeping the upper body upright and balanced. It also improves your posture and reduces the risk of back and muscle pain. The bonus? You don't need a regular dance partner – most classes are offered in a group.

Celebrity salsa dancers: Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.

REMEMBER: Check your dance teacher's qualifications. Also make sure you tell him or her if you have any injuries or health problems so your dance moves can be adapted appropriately. And listen to your body – take a break when you're tired and don't try to force yourself into positions you're not used to.

Read more:

Dance yourself fit

(Picture: Salsa dance from Shutterstock)

 
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