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Publication: Diet Buddy
Dancing the Pounds Away!

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         Diet Buddy - Monday, October 23, 2006

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Dancing the Pounds Away!

Hello Diet Buddies:

I hope you all had a great weekend and were able to get out 
of the house for a little bit of exercise before it gets 
too cold to do so.  It doesn't look like we're getting 
those "Indian Summer" days I was looking forward to with 
all this cold weather that's settled in (cold for me, 
anyway), but then again we're only a few months away from 
Christmas.  Did I just say "few", like in "two"?  Someone 
shut me up!

Now we all know When trying to lose weight, just about any 
new idea seems to be worth a try, especially if you're not 
having much success with your current weight loss program.  
I don't know how many of you readers are presently watching 
the third season of "Dancing With The Stars", but let me 
tell you, I think most of us would give up one of our body 
parts to look like one of those dancing dolls on that show, 
men included.

Dancing can not only make you look like a "hottie", but can 
also be a very artistic way of expressing yourself, whether 
it be moving slow and graceful like the waltz, wild and 
crazy like the jitterbug, or sexy and sensuous like belly 
dancing.  You can lose your inhibitions, get all your body 
parts moving, melt away stubborn fat and use muscles you 
didn't know you had.  But most important, it will be the 
most fun you'll have getting rid of those stubborn pounds 
that just don't seem to want to dissappear.

There are many ways to learn ballroom dancing, from 
attending studios like Arthur Murray's or taking lessons 
held by Parks and Recreation Centers in your area. "Why go 
to a gym and lift weights when you can step out on the 
dance floor and have a great time getting fit. The move-
ment of ballroom dancing keeps the heart rate up, which 
leads to better endurance and utilizes the entire body, 
so you get a complete workout", says the "Dance Doctor" 
Southern California-based instructor John Cassese.

Let's look at the various types of dancing that people are 
out there enjoying that we can use to our benefit whether 
it be physical, mental or emotional, courtesy of Diet & 
Exercise Magazine.....

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Ballroom Dancing!

The term ballroom dancing isn't reserved just for slow 
dances like the waltz either, Cassese explains that "this 
discipline encompasses everything from the mambo and the 
tango to the fox trot and the swing. One reason that this 
type of movement works is that it isn't something you do 
by yourself. You always have a partner who is there to 
motivate you. Working out at a gym alone can get lonely, 
and people tend to lose their drive to exercise. With 
ballroom dancing, students are anxious to go to dance 
classes because they have fun while interacting with 
other people."

Cassese notes that dance isn't just a workout for the 
body, but for the mind, too. "In dance, you must think 
and concentrate, unlike aerobics, it's a creative 
exercise. It's not mundane and repetitive, so you must 
use your imagination. Dance is also a wonderful stress 
reducer, and it's fun to make the same moves as the 
pairs you cheered for during "Dancing with The Stars."

Latin Dancing!

Latin dancing has been popular for about 10 years and is 
still gaining ground today.  The moves made during dances 
like the salsa, cha-cha and merengue are just right for 
fitness dancing, for they make your muscles work in new 
ways! Fitness pro Kathy Smith explained the benefits of 
this type of movement a few years ago; "Many of today's 
popular workouts are a bit rigid and keep the muscles of 
your hips, pelvis and shoulders stiff.....with this work-
out, you're loosening up those areas, while getting a 
serious cardiovascular workout and all of the benefits 
that come with it," including lower blood pressure, 
reduced cholesterol and increased energy.

The sensual moves used in Latin dance can have a positive 
impact in your life. "Learning to move in a more sensual 
way can help improve your self-image," Smith explains. "As 
you loosen up the areas of the hips and shoulders, your 
body takes on a different flow, helping you feel sexier. 
Despite how you've been moving in the past, the Latin 
rhythm and music makes it easy to get into the groove." 
The exerciser is encouraged to open up the hip and chest 
areas, something that's not typical with other workouts. 

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Ecstatic Dancing!

This type of dancing started in Los Angeles, and consists 
of two to two and a half hour sessions of dancing in 
various ways.  During an ecstatic dance class, students 
are encouraged to move any way they like as they sway or 
stomp to the beat of the music, which can range from world 
music to hip hop. Teachers guide their movement, but there 
is no right or wrong way to make these moves. What is 
important is to keep moving throughout the session, and 
to concentrate fully on taking your body where the music 
guides it to go.

As you might expect, dancing for a couple of hours can burn 
quite a few calories! Those who have taken this class also 
report feeling physically and mentally spent, yet relaxed 
and at peace with the world when they are done. 

Belly Dancing!

Belly dancing classes have been quite popular during the 
21st century, which is not surprising. There is an element 
of femininity to these classes that few other types of 
workouts can match. 

Belly dancing can burn up to 300-350 calories in an hour's 
time. It strengthens pelvic muscles used during childbirth, 
and it's emphasis on muscle control helps a woman regain 
abdominal tone after she has a baby. The undulations and 
rib movements used give back muscles a well-needed toning, 
and frequent arm movements provide toning to biceps and 
triceps. This type of dance also improves posture and 
relieves back and joint pain too. Belly dancing is a low
impact aerobic activity - not much chance of getting hurt 
as you shake it - and it is a weight-bearing exercise that 
helps build strong bones.

Contra Dancing!

During a typical contra dance session, male and female 
dancers face each other in a line, and the "caller" tells 
them when to make their moves.  Each dance consists of a 
sequence of moves - generally a mix of swings, spins, 
promenades, do-si-dos and allemandes - that ends when 
partners have completed all the figures called for during 
a particular dance. The basic figures are used again and 
again in various combinations to make up different dances; 
there are generally 10 to 12 dances per session.

If this sounds like a simple workout, guess again! You've 
got to learn the particular dance steps, which can be picked
up early on at a beginner's/introductory class before the 
dances begin, and you'll need to keep up with your partner 
and the rest of the group. Each dance lasts about 15 
minutes, and those who have tried it say you can really 
work up a sweat! And the New Haven Country Dancers suggest 
wearing soft-soled shoes - high heels are not a good idea. 

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Music For Your Workout!

-  Create a mixture of motivating and relaxing music that 
   is in sync with your workout. Start with mildly up-
   tempo music as you warm up; have the tempo of the songs 
   increase gradually as your workout gets more intense, 
   then finish with something smooth and relaxing as you 
   cool down and stretch.

-  During cardio, consider the beats per minute (bpm) in 
   each song. Too many bpm can increase your risk of 
   injury, as you struggle to do each movement and keep 
   pace with the music. Too few, and you may not raise 
   your heart rate to a training level. The recommended 
   range for cardio workouts is 125 to 150 bpm. 

-  Look for music that offers a more relaxing tempo during 
   yoga, Pilates, or stretching workouts, such as classical, 
   jazz or new age.

-  Opt for "pure" music, preferably a selection of songs on 
   tape, CD, or MP3. In other words, avoid the radio, which 
   is filled with advertisements and other distractions that 
   can kill the momentum of your workout.

-  Watch the volume. To avoid dangers such as noise-induced 
   hearing loss and/or the ability to hear traffic/movement 
   around you, make sure your volume is set so that you can 
   carry on a conversation without having to remove your 

So if you're tired of your regular exercise routine and want
to literally shake things up a bit, give one of these dance 
sessions a try. Then grab yourself a partner and have the 
time of your life, with the added bonus of a trimmer, 
healthier and happier YOU.


That "music can enhance your health.  It has a calming 
effect that can reduce anxiety and stress, which in turn, 
can positively impact blood pressure, muscular tension, 
overeating and getting quality sleep."

Have any questions or comments regarding your weight? 
Take a moment and visit our new Diet Buddy Forum at: 
Diet Buddy Forum 

Have a great week everyone !!!

Disclaimer: Since I am not a medical professional, any 
statements in this column are strictly based on research I 
have done and should not be misconstrued as medical advice. 

          GopherCentral's Question of the Week 

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