Yes you read that right... I went Zumba dancing this morning! Finally a form of exercise where curves actually HELP you get fit! Apart from the fact I am far too 'white' for this class, I found I wore a gentle smile for most of the class. I struggle to recall the last time I smiled so unenforceable and with such genuine enthusiasm. It reminded me of happier times.
Dancing has been part of life for as long as I can remember. These memories are both sweet and sour as any classical dancer will dearly understand. Being tall and awkward did me no favors in Ballet, and compounded my body hatred, yet the freedom that comes from dancing is hard to express in words. It was an emotional release for me.
In terms of size and shape, my dance class was like a school classroom; there were girls of all different weights and sizes, gifts and talents. There were the tall girls like me, shorter ones, skinny girls and larger ones, and then the spot in the middle average girls... the list goes on. When we were younger, we were the size we were due to hereditary inheritances and the lifestyle we have grown up with. But as we got older, we became more aware of size and shape, and then constantly worried more and more about it.
It wasn't easy developing before my classmates, and having to strip off to tights and a leotard certainly made me feel worse. I was put at the back of the class because of my height, and I remember staring at the small frames in front of me, still petite and childlike, and compared my budding breasts and forming hips to theirs. I thought I was fat. No-one told me it was normal, if just a bit early for a girl's body to change that way. I still felt like a child, but looked like a woman and it affected my self esteem drastically. Did it give me my disorder? the long and short of it is no, but it didn't help me to feel good about my body.
For all the negative aspects to ballet, I still loved it. I was good at it too, passed all my exams and preformed in shows. Not only did it keep me fit, but it stimulated my creative nature and mind. At one stage I was dancing 4 days a week. I would dream of it at night, and made good friends from it. Dancing is a unique form of exercise because it provides the heart-healthy benefits of an aerobic exercise while also allowing you to engage in a social activity. It is also especially stimulating to the mind, and one 21-year study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Click here for the full link) even found dancing can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia in the elderly!
This morning brought back the positive internal feeling I loved as a child when I danced, and along with all the benefits listed below, I had fun!
Why dance? Here's why!
2. It strengthens the body's muscles.
3. It minimizes the chances of the disease osteoporoses as it makes the bones stronger.
4. It increases the flexibility, agility and the coordination in the body.
5. It increases the spatial awareness.
6. It enhances physical confidence.
7. It enhances the functionality of mind and the nervous system.
8. It enhances the expenditure of energy and its flow in the body.
9. It can help you loose/maintain weight.
10. It enhances overall well being.
11. It increases levels of self-esteem and confidence.
12. It improves your social-life
So go dance. Go BUILD A LIFE WORTH LIVING!.