With ACE and IDEA recently doing a Zumba study, I got to thinking about dance. About what it does to your body. I started dancing in college, and although there really is not a studio that has the kind of teaching I want to pay for (I like pretty strict but encouraging teaching styles) in the area I currently live, I cannot wait to take it back up. (For those of you who love Zumba, great! I have tried it, had fun trying it, but it just is not my style.)
What I do love is the New York City Ballet Company’s ballet-inspired workout. I often incorporate movements from it into my Pilates classes, as J. Pilates first started spreading his methods in dance companies. Some of his first well-recognized dance students were George Balanchine and Martha Graham. Adding dance technique to any class challenges balance and the powerhouse (the abdominals, back muscles, gluts, hip flexors, and thighs), as well as sculpts the muscles of the entire body. It is well-known that dancers have some of the nicest, leanest, strongest yet most flexible bodies of any athlete (and yes, I consider them athletes–try a ballet or modern class before disagreeing).
Here are the warm-up videos (YouTube) from Disc 1 of the NYB’s workout:
I highly recommend any dance style you might be interested in. Dance not only works the body, it is great activity for the brain, forcing both sides to work simultaneously to complete tasks. I was also once informed by a dance teacher that after football players, dancers had the most rigorous training of all athletes. Lessons are usually reasonable, and more and more adult classes are popping up across the country. If you do not see them in your home town, contact local studios to see if they would allow you to attend class regardless or open up adult-only (usually 16+ years of age) options.
Foam rollers. They look like long round tubes but I love them. They are great for myofascial release and massaging tight muscles. These I also use in my Pilates classes. The key is to breathe. It hurts. It hurts a lot, it seems. I just did a short session with a physical therapist who also is a co-worker at the gym I work at, and barely did anything. I still felt it the next day, particularly in my calves. My next purchase will be one. Oh, what a selection! I recommend one that is firm but not too firm; for those who have sensitive skin or suffer from disorders like fibromyalgia, I recommend one that is softer. For more information on exercises and benefits, see here and here, and here are two great videos:
The last thing I wanted to post was a new find. I have a lot of people who are interested in vegan or vegetarian lifestyles, and that includes me. Max Green Alchemy, where I purchase my haircare products, sent me an online survey/giveaway request this morning sponsored by VegNews Magazine. I highly recommend that you give them a look, and even enter in the giveaway. Whether you are just doing research or really diving into the vegan lifestyle, they have some great tips, resources, and ideas for all walks of life. Find them on Facebook here.