Exercise provides many obvious health benefits, as well as a great figure. However, people often joke that their New Year’s resolutions do not last past February, and many of these resolutions include losing weight or working out more. The key is to find the right type of exercise for you—a type of exercise you want to continue doing past February.
Exercise should not feel like a chore. It should be an activity that you can look forward to and feel good about. Cardio training and dance are two forms of exercise that offer similar health benefits. However, dance also offers psychological benefits and a workout that you will want to continue doing for a lifetime.
Always new and exciting
Why would you want to feel like you’re running on a hamster wheel in a lab? Stairmasters and treadmills are great forms of cardio, but they provide no entertainment. Even with a flatscreeen TV attachment, the TV provides the interest—not the running itself.
The trick to sticking with your workouts is to find something that offers excitement and variety. Dance provides you with new movements and routines in a fun way, sometimes tricking you into thinking that you’re not actually working out. You may actually find that you are disappointed when the workout is over! In addition, there are many different forms of dance to try once you master one type.
Trainers often refer to something called plateauing. Bodybuilding.com defines this phenomenon as “a time when you are no longer progressing in your workouts.” Plateaus can occur in cardio when you can no longer increase the speed or longevity of your workouts.
Plateaus do not occur in dance, because simple changes in dance routines will use different sets of muscles. You can push yourself to new levels of endurance just by learning a new move or even a new dance style.
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Unlike cardio, dance does not have an age limit. Running and other traditional forms of cardio exercise can put a great deal of pressure on the knees. While walking offers a healthy cardio workout alternative for the elderly, many forms of dance are equally suitable for a changing body. A UK study conducted by the Centre for Policy on Aging Institute found that the elderly felt more included in society when they participated in dance. The study also found that the movements of dance are incredibly easy to tailor to each elderly person, accommodating any individual physical challenges.
Unless you regularly take cardio classes, you will not likely experience a social dimension to your workouts. Dance classes offer a way to feel like you are part of society, as the elderly noted in the UK study mentioned above. Some people become so proficient through their dance workouts that they can actually teach classes themselves. Finally, someone will pay you to work out!
Further, note that dance does not always have to take place in a studio. It provides you with a skill that allows you to include your friends or make friends within dance courses, and you can even teach the next generation in your family the skills you have learned. Your workouts can become a bonding experience that is fun for the whole family.
The achievement of a skill
Cardio training can make a person feel great about themselves because of the way their body looks. Dance, as a form of cardio itself at times, offers the same benefit. However, is a desire to look good in skinny jeans really the only reason you work out? Dance is an achievement that goes beyond endurance and weight loss, and it’s a wonderful way for you to define yourself. Your workouts allow you to say “I am a dancer.” This statement can easily boost your self-esteem. Why not engage in a workout that makes you feel proud of yourself?
Center for Policy on Aging. Bupa. Keep Dancing: The health and wellbeing benefits of dance for older people. 2011. http://www.cpa.org.uk/information/reviews/shall-we-dance-report.pdf.
Vaillancourt, Joey. “7 Ways to Bust Any Plateau!” Bodybuilding.com. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/7-ways-to-bust-any-plateau.htm.