Over the years I have tried all sorts of exercises in order to get fit. Running, swimming, going to the gym, fitness classes… I’ve done them all, each with varying degrees of success. But it wasn’t until I tried out a salsa class with a friend that I really felt I had found my niche. Not only is salsa an awesome workout, but it also has an addictive quality which means you want to keep going again and again. If you want to get in shape but want to have fun whilst you do it, get yourself to a salsa class immediately! Here are our top five health benefits of this type of dancing.
1) Aerobic workout
Many forms of dancing give your body an aerobic workout, and salsa is no exception. When you dance salsa you will feel your breathing rate increasing as your heart and lungs work to deliver oxygen to your body. As a beginner learning the moves you may not find classes physically strenuous, but as you improve you will dance for longer periods of time and to a faster beat. It is here that you will start to reap the rewards of an aerobic workout. Long term, aerobic activity will lower your blood pressure and help to prevent heart problems, so you are less likely to claim on your health insurance policy.
As well as giving your heart and lungs a workout, salsa dancing is fantastic at toning up those thighs. Many women (myself included) like to dance in heels, and this gives the additional benefit of engaging your calf muscles. But heels or no heels, salsa moves are a wonder for your bottom half. Requiring you to step backward and forwards, the dance works your legs, glutes, and hips to their maximum. Salsa also requires you to have a strong core, so you will feel your stomach muscles tightening as a result.
3) Mental health
A study in the UK showed that salsa dancing could actually aid people who are suffering from symptoms of depression. Exercise in general is a natural way to release endorphins in the body, giving you a natural high that improves your mood. In fact, exercise is often recommended as a treatment for anxiety and other mild mental health conditions.
But as well as releasing endorphins, the social aspect of salsa is unrivaled. In classes you will switch from partner to partner, encouraging you to meet new people and socialize when you might otherwise be feeling low. From my experience, the salsa community is one of the friendliest around and is great for raising your confidence.
4) Drink Less
If you live in the UK you will be well aware of how alcohol centered the culture has become. Socialising often involves going to the pub, going to a bar, or even sharing a bottle of wine over lunch. All this alcohol plays havoc with our bodies, putting us at risk of a number of health conditions including cancer. From my experience, salsa is a great way of escaping this environment. Instead of revolving around alcohol, you will find that dancing gives you enough of a buzz to not need it. In fact, too many drinks and your coordination will fall apart, leaving you to be a bit of a liability on the dance floor!
5) Lose weight
All that aerobic exercise will do wonders for your weight. If going to the gym leaves you feeling bored and uninspired, dancing might be the key to dropping a few pounds. Not only will you be more likely to keep this type of exercise up if you find it enjoyable, but having other people to dance with on a regular basis means you can motivate each other to keep going.
In order to lose weight, try to raise your heart wait for at least 20 minutes a day, at least 4 days a week, and eating a healthy diet for weight loss. The great thing about salsa dancing is that it moves your whole body, so you can get an all-round workout. And the best part is you will be able to cancel that expensive gym membership!