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Get in shape for summer

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No sooner does the sun come out and everyone makes it their mission to get fit for summer. Dance is a fantastic form of exercise, helping you to stay in shape and burn calories, all whilst having fun. It provides both physical and mental benefits, short term and long term. Whether it is ballet, tap or jazz, it certainly won’t involve running up hills at 5am and doing press ups!

The beauty of dance is that it uses all major muscles and is an aerobic form of exercise.  This means it pushes your heart and lungs making stronger your cardiovascular system.  In turn, this reduces the risk of heart disease and increases stamina. If you’re looking to lose weight, a dance class can help to burn 200-400 calories. That is the equivalent of one large glass of wine or a Mars bar!

Posture and balance are a must in any form of dance and requires strength in the back and shoulder muscles. It also asks that you use your core muscles which can help towards achieving a toned stomach.

Beyond getting fit for the summer, dance has long term benefits.  It can help prevent and treat osteoporosis. This is a concern for everyone, but especially for older women during menopause when there is a significant decrease in oestrogen, which creates a decrease in the amount of calcium being absorbed into the bones. Joints are also well used and can both improve flexibility and help prevent arthritis.

The advantages also extend to your emotional and mental well-being.  Dance can reduce stress and increase energy levels. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that can improve your mood. Worried about forgetfulness? By learning new steps and routines, dance improves the memory, keeping you bright and alert.

The breadth of dance choices is wide. Some of my favourites are ballet, jazz and tap. Similar and yet so different, they combine exercise and enjoyment, something that can be difficult to find when you are trying to get in shape.