A Smattering of Topics: Dance, Foam Rollers, and VegNews Magazine

August 23, 2012

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:

Warm Up One (New York City Ballet Workout Disc 1)

Warm Up Two (New York City Ballet Workout Disc 1)

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:

Top 5 Foam Roller Exercises

Pilates Exercises: The Benefits of Foam Rollers

***

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.

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9 Responses to “A Smattering of Topics: Dance, Foam Rollers, and VegNews Magazine”

  1. habisha said

    I did (and taught) aerobic dance back in the 80s. I think Zumba is just another version of that. I agree Dance is a great way to keep the body limber. I use it for my lower back.

    I’ve got a foam roller. Someone recommended it for the ruptured disk. Just lie on it, he said. Hmmm. Didn’t know you could do exercises with the thing. Interesting what people with do with just about anything.

    We tend to eat a lot of vegetables in this house, as you know. I cook meat about once a week and then the rest of the time we fill in with vegetables or stir-fry. I love all things *kik* oriented, whether with berberi or more simply with turmeric, cumin and cardamon. If you come up with good recipes, share please.

    • Meredith Rose Ashe said

      You can lie on the foam roller and it feels great on the low back. Sit at one end and lie the whole length of the spine upon it, making sure that your neck and head are supported. Feet stay on the floor and hands by your sides. If that is too much pressure on the spine, however, I suggest looking at getting a yoga bolster, which are softer, like firm giant pillows. Also, if you try the exercises, make sure the foam roller is not too hard, esp. since you have fibromyalgia. If it’s too hard, consider purchasing a softer one so you can do the rolling.

      • habisha said

        Thanks. Mine is blue, about 4-5″ in diameter and fairly soft. The Yoga bolster sounds like a good idea. The physical therapists say I need something for my back when I sit for long periods. This might work. They also want me to get a therapy ball to sit on to strengthen my core. If I can find one that will lift me high enough to type, I’ll use it. I think the said 51-52″ or something. I’ll check again.

      • Meredith Rose Ashe said

        Probably 51-55 cm, not inches 🙂

      • habisha said

        Can you tell I don’t know this stuff! I asked my PT about it and she said, “Not yet but soon.” Yesterday’s physical therapy was better, made progress. I really hate back injuries.

      • Meredith Rose Ashe said

        Patience and persistence. Glad to know you’ll be able to do it sometime in the future.

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