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
Dancing helps you stand tall and
it spontaneously pulls your spine up straight. Walking upright eventually
becomes a habit.
This is essential when you’re
performing dance moves.
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.
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.
Graceful dance moves keep bones
strong without putting unnecessary strain on the joints. Dance promotes bone
density and therefore helps to prevent osteoporosis.
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
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.
Dance yourself fit(Picture: Salsa dance from Shutterstock)