Every year thousands of us say that we want to increase our flexibility. We join yoga classes, vow to do stretches first thing in the morning or to be more conscious of stretching at the gym. Downward dog and butterfly pose may well be good for flexibility, but if yoga doesn’t tempt you, why not try dancing instead. Most dance styles will help you become more supple, improve coordination, musicality, posture and alignment. Dance also increases your joint mobility and muscle flexibility. As well as being a great way to burn those holiday calories it’s just a lot of fun! What’s not to love?
If you want to get more flexible, here are some of the best dance styles to go for:
Barre Fit – Tone, Stretch and Sculpt
This type of exercise has shot up in popularity over the past couple of years, and it’s not surprising. Barre Fit uses ballet barre exercises combined with additional stretching exercises to encourage long lean muscles, as well as sculpting and toning your body. If jumping into a full blown dance class sounds intimidating, this is the perfect alternative. But don’t be fooled, it’s still hard work!
In Barre Fit you will work on extending and conditioning your muscles, taking them into the deep burn phase with short bursts of sustained and held positions. This is followed by lengthening to build strength and flexibility.
Ballet - Become Supple and Balanced
Ballet dancers are known for their long limbs, strength and grace. Who wouldn’t want the lovely legs of a ballerina or ballerino. Dancing ballet helps you develop postural control and core strength. Many of the exercises in Ballet are structured to increase flexibility, mobility and the strength of your musculoskeletal system.
Don’t worry if you’ve never danced Ballet before, you can join an adult Ballet class for beginners, requiring no previous dance experience. You will find you can reach higher, bend lower and feel more agile and elegant.
Contemporary – Get Limber and Strong
Contemporary dance is highly energetic and expressive, and was created as a means to liberate dancers from the established structure of classical Ballet. It focuses on the length and strength of movement, and understanding your own body in a space. Most contemporary techniques focus on elongation and expansion of the limbs to fill the space you inhabit.
Again, don’t worry if you have never done any contemporary dance before, as you can jump on a beginners class, where you’ll learn everything from scratch.
Whether it’s the allure of the prima ballerina or the expression of Contemporary dance that compels you, they are great ways to improve flexibility and overall fitness. You can also combine either of these dances with Pilates, which is great for releasing stress and tension, whilst providing full body strength and flexibility. Regardless of what you choose, the important thing is to have fun!