Monday, June 6, 2011

Bellydance for Fitness

Can't find fitness workouts that keep you motivated? Why not give belly dancing a try?

Many women make the mistake of assuming they have to look like Beyonce to join a belly dance class, but you'd be surprised how wrong you are! Because most belly dancing classes are for women only, there are far more overweight and older women in bellydance classes than you might expect. They feel less threatened in the female-only environment.

It's funny, because I've been to ladies-only gyms where the atmosphere is still fairly competitive, and you can feel self-conscious about your size and shape – but get a crowd of women in a belly dance class, and suddenly instead of being strangers, they're a sisterhood! You don't have to bare your tummy – it's fine to wear a t-shirt and yoga or gym pants. Too shy? Why not try some belly dancing fitness DVDs at home first, to give you confidence.

Unfortunately, another myth about belly dance is that it will give you a flat stomach. There are specific belly dance exercises which do exercise the belly, but many belly dance instructors won't teach them until you're more advanced. There are Belly dance workouts for abs available on DVD if you're impatient and want to get a flat stomach before you get into the advanced class!

The benefits of belly dancing will depend to a large extent on your belly dancing instructor. Some teachers will make the class fast-paced, which is good for cardiovascular fitness. Look for classes with names like Bellyrobics or Oriental Fusion. More traditional classes will be slower, with more focus on good form. But all of them will improve your sense of self-esteem and body image, and it's a great way to make new friends.

Remember, a fitness program is useless if you're not motivated to do it. Bellydancing can give you that motivation, so give it a try!

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