Our group fitness instructor, Ildikó, not only conducts body shaping, spine training and stretching sessions, but also dance fitness courses. Therefore, she can tell us what the life-affirming salsa fitness is all about. Written by Ildikó Szántó.
As a salsa fitness instructor, it’s hard for me to hide my bias toward dance fitness courses, but now I’ll try to distance myself from my own feelings and outline the advantages and disadvantages of these types of training.
Choreographed dance lessons, be it zumba, salsa fitness, party fitness, dance aerobic, dance step etc., have many beneficial effects on participants.
There are those who join these sessions just for the sake of joy and spiritual refreshment, even if they cannot accurately follow the instructor’s movements. After all, these courses aren’t about perfect technique, but about enjoying the music and physical activity. And when many people do it together, the effect is even better. Of course, it takes a good instructor to set the ”party mood”, but in my experience, professionals who choose this field tend to enjoy it as well, so this is usually a given. Some people like to dance but wouldn’t do it alone at home – for them a choreographed dance course is the perfect option. Additionally, even the first session can greatly relieve inhibitions.
Coordination steadily improves as you attend classes. Those who practice regulary will be able to follow the instructor’s movements noticeably easier and more accurately.
If the instructor sets a good example, which is usually the case, guests’ posture also improves noticeably, which in turn boosts their confidence.
Noteworthy is the body shaping effect of dancing, which is why most people start exercising. With the help of her smart watch, one of my guests measured that she’d burned nearly 300 calories during a salsa fitness session. This depends, of course, on one’s physical condition, skill level, the intensity of the class, how much one’s willing to push oneself, and the extent of movements. The circulatory and respiratory systems constantly improve with continued.
Everyone can train with the intensity they need, and no one’s bothered if someone doesn’t exactly follow the instructor. Many feel embarrassed about this, but they shouldn’t. Others are occupied by what they themselves are doing, and everyone’s just doing their best to keep up. If someone would watch others maliciously, they would fall out of rhythm themselves. The instructor does focus on the guests, because they’re proud of them and tries to figure out how to make the class even easier to follow.
This form of exercise is excellent for stress relief.
In theory, dance is independent of age and gender, but 99% of guests are women. Even so, anyone is welcome. Some of my guests are ladies over 70.
Additionally, most choreographed sessions don’t require any equipment.
With various healt conditions, other classes are to be avoided, but dancing is still OK. For example, one of my guests regularly joins my sesssions despite her hip replacement. Of course, she needs to be careful with some moves.
So the sense of success is guaranteed, no matter how we look at it.
Unfortunately, this type of training also has drawbacks.
Dance training courses are clearly dominated by women, although among instructors, men are often more popular than women. Unfortunately, these courses are rarely joined by men: they either aren’t interested, or they find it useless, or they would like to join, but they feel uncomfortable without other men around.
In case of certain health problems, this form of exercise also requires more attention. Those with sensitive knees, ankles, or hips must always be careful not to damage their joints. For example, the sole of a shoe can stick to the floor during a spin, and as the body continues to turn, knee injury can occur. In the long run, it’s worth investing in special dancing shoes. Some moves are not recommended for everyone; some guests get dizzy during spins. Unfortunately, during these sessions the instructor cannot give everyone specific exercises, so everyone needs to work it out for themselves. You either improvise, or skip that part.
A dance session requires serius concentration, because you need to watch and follow the instructor all the time. Therefore, if you arrive mentally fatigued, you may not enjoy the session very much, and it may not be that refreshing. In the worst case, if someone really doesn’t pay attention or can’t follow at all and starts moving in the opposing direction, collisions can occur. Fortunately, I’ve never witnessed this during my classes.
Dancing isn’t really suitable for building muscles, for this purpose it’s best to choose another form of exercise.
There are some who are great at dancing already for the first tome, and some who need much more practice. In the latter case, however, the improvement is really spectacular.
Unfortunately, people who only aim at the best possible performance, preventing them to be absorbed by the mood, may end up disappointed. Some even leave during sessions. The instructor not encouraging participants, making harsh remarks, or just checking themselves in the mirror all the time, can make bad feelings worse. However, if you like dancing and music even just a little bit, don’t give up. It’s worth trying out multiple course types and instructors, and everyone can find what suits them.
Perseverance and enthusiasm are important because, even if it’s difficult in te beginning, work will bear fruit. But I recommend dancing courses even just for the sake of relaxation and fun.
Original article here.
Source of featured image: flickr.com
Translation by Ádám Hittaller