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Posts made in March, 2016

Health & Fitness: Benefits of Dance (or: How to Avoid Looking Like an Electrocuted Octopus)

Posted by on Mar 12, 2016 | 5 comments

In a long bygone era of high school, I considered myself something of a dancer. Now, just walking around my apartment, I’m constantly being attacked by my furniture—I have bruises everywhere from my abusive coffee table and pugilistic doors.

I think my newfound klutziness is primarily a result of forever thinking about things other than where I’m going—my mind is constantly inundated by my fictional characters’ lives and my own, real life—but I don’t think trying to work on my coordination, balance, and grace could possibly hurt.

Not to mention, I realized I missed dancing—and generally, I don’t actually like working out. What I like is eating and not keeling over dead when I walk up a few flights of stairs. If I work out, I can eat without having an ass the size and shape of a sofa cushion, and when I walk up flights of stairs, I get a warm, smug feeling of satisfaction that I don’t need to call any paramedics to my aide.

Recently, I clicked on a Youtube video of a flashmob. Before the flashmob began, there was a series of very short videos of different kinds of dancers dancing. In high school, I was co-captain of my dance troupe. We were the girls who danced during the half-time of basketball and football games. High kicks, flying splits, hip hop moves, and intricate choreography were a part of my day four to five days a week for most of the year (we trained and went to dance camp in summer).

There are a lot of health benefits to dancing, including increased muscular strength, endurance, and aerobic fitness. Dance can also help with weight management, stronger bones, and reduced risk of osteoporosis. It’s been shown to help keep a person’s brain sharp. Learning a new exercise activity is a double-whammy when it comes to brain health. Dancing and other activities that require some skill and memorization are a good option.

I definitely can’t fly up into the air in the splits and land in the splits like I could when I was seventeen. Then again, that’s not a skill that most people need at my age. So I set my goals more realistically: I bought a Zumba workout video. Zumba is a Latin-dance inspired workout that incorporates the choreography of hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, and mambo.

Now, to be clear, I never want anyone to be spying on me in my apartment, but somehow I feel the most ridiculous following a Zumba DVD in my living room, and whenever I do it, I develop an irrational fear that people are watching and laughing their butts off. This is primarily because when I attempt to follow the instructor’s dance moves, I look like an octopus that is being electrocuted.

However, it’s important to mix up my workout routines to ensure I work out different muscles so my body is constantly being challenged in new ways, so I’ll keep privately making a fool of myself and dancing around my apartment, even if my furniture does want to beat me up on occasion.

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