If you have taken up dancing, having never done it before, you will find yourself using muscles you are unaccustomed to. These will ache at first, however after time and exercise, you wil grow used to using them and build them up over time. Here are four exercises designed to strengthen these muscles.
1. Weight training - Dancers are incredibly strong and they need to be able to perform all the moves they do. Ballerinas for example, need strong arms and legs in order to be able to hold positions and poses for long periods of time. In order to build up your limb strength, it is an idea to do some basic weight training. Now we are not talking about massive dumb-bells here, but light weights that will gradually tone your legs, arms and back.
2. Yoga/Pilates - Your muscular core is used extensively in dance, and as such many dancers do pilates and or yoga to strengthen these muscles. By doing so, dancers are able to hold their bodies in positions longer as well as minimising risk of injury. Yoga and pilates also allow you to build up muscles you might not otherwise use.
3. Go swimming - Dancing not only works your muscles but also your cardio-vascular system. It is therefore important to make sure you regularly work your heart. Jogging or running are good options, but swimming is probably the best as it not only exercises every muscle, but is an excellent way to keep fit.
4. Stretching - Once you have worked all these muscles, the only way to improve your flexibility is to stretch these muscles. You can do this in every day life by taking longer strides, holding your stomach in and reaching out your arms as far as they go. By doing a series of stretching exercises before and after dance, you will reduce the chance of injury. (Article republished with kind permission of www.worldbellydancer.org)