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Robin D. Stone is a New York City based psychotherapist, coach and consultant who works to help you achieve your most optimal self. 

Bored With Your Workout? Add Dance to the Mix!

 

I once had a client who swore she didn’t like to exercise. “Nope, nah, no way,” were her responses to my suggestions to do yoga, lift weights or try a spin class.

She found workout routines boring and was adamant that boredom kept her from including regular exercise in her routine. Instead of reminding her about the benefits of exercise for weight loss, which she already knew, I suggested that she not do anything she felt “forced” to do, but to consider what kind of movement she liked.

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“Really?” she said, “All I like to do is dance.”

And really, that was all she needed.

I suggested she put together a “move your body” soundtrack and sent her fun DVDs like Shaun T’s “Hip-Hop Abs.” And I encouraged her to commit to dancing for 30 minutes straight at least twice a week.

Not everybody likes the gym, or to work with trainers, or to even put on a sports bra. But I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like to dance.  Getting your groove thing on goes beyond burning calories; it can even lift your spirits.  Just get moving and keep moving until you work up a sweat. Start in the privacy of your own home, and if you’re adventurous enough to give a class a twirl, sign up at your local community center or Y, your house of worship or more formal studios.

From salsa to African to tap to belly dancing, you can find a class that suits your taste and level. If you’re a couple, take a class together as a new way to connect.  If you’re single, try a dance class to meet and mingle. 

Dancing boosts our bodies and our moods: It burns calories (anywhere from 250 to 500 per hour) and builds endurance and muscle strength – improving posture as it works your core.  It also releases those feel-good hormones called endorphins.

Dancing also helps your mind and memory. Studies have found that folks who practice ballroom dancing have a reduced incidence of dementia.  Evidently, the mental concentration you need to learn new dance moves keeps your mind agile, like crossword puzzles or learning a new language.

 So if you’re like my client and all you like to do is dance, then get on the good foot – and get it in!