By: Tami Charbonnet
Co-written by: Model, International Les Mills Trainer, and Presenter Anna Lowery
The truth is – everyone “CAN” dance! Our bodies naturally respond to the rhythmic sounds of music. If choreography or the motion of dancing seems intimidating to you, take the first step – be brave and let go of your mental guard. Dancing is a great way to have a blast while burning calories. It is also a fun, social and fantastic workout. You can dance almost anywhere, anytime and with anyone. Popular group fitness classes such as Zumba, Les Mills BODYJAM® and SH’BAM® are super-charged energetic workouts offered at fitness facilities nationwide. Most beginner dance classes are designed with easy-to-follow choreography, but you should learn a few basic moves before jumping into a group class. You may even decide to clear the living room, turn on your favorite tunes and JUST DANCE all by yourself! You will quickly begin to feel energized by the physical and emotional benefits from the endorphin release and calorie burn. Although moves may appear simple, when repeated to the beat of your favorite music, you will benefit in various ways.
Cardiovascular: Most dancing is considered moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity.
Bone Strength: Stepping, jumping, marching and reaching at any level contribute to bone strength in the legs, spine, arms, shoulders and core.
Mental Health: If you have two left feet, learning to dance seems quite the task. Dancing will allow you to connect your mental focus to the rhythm or beat of music and then to physical movement.
1. Star Jump
- Begin with a wide stance. Feet outside of hips and hands by the sides of body.
- Create a big bend in the knees (think squat!), collapse through the chest and shoulders.
- Swing the arms down and as you lift the chest, and cross the arms in front of the body, shooting them wide into the air (high diagonal) to make a star shape with the body.
Bonus: Up for a challenge? Try jumping!
*Be sure to land with soft knees and abs braced.*
2. Salsa OTS (On the Spot)
- Begin with feet together.
- Walk on the spot with a natural walking rhythm (left, right, left, right).
- Keeping the walking rhythm, step the left foot out and in, followed by the right foot (1,2,3,1,2,3)
- Allow the arms to move naturally with small circles in front of the stomach.
3. “Hip Hop” Squat
- Begin with feet WIDE and keep hands on thighs.
- Bend both knees.
- Rock the hips back to the left corner and shift to the right corner.
- To work deeper into the squat and out of the squat, bend as low as you can and gradually work your way back up.
4. Split Jump
- Begin with a straight jump with legs together and hands over head.
- As you jump, gradually split one leg forward and one leg back, landing with feet together.
- Height is up to you! If the legs are bent, that’s OK too!
5. Barrel Jump
- Begin with feet hip/shoulder distance.
- Put weight into the left leg and lift the right knee.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- When the left foot hits the ground, pull the right shoulder back to create a full turn.
- End facing forward.
- Repeat opposite direction always lifting the outside knee first.
- Challenge? Add a jump to the turn!
6. SALMON JUMP
- Begin with the same straight jump as the Split Leap (move #4).
- Once comfortable, start to lift the feet behind by bending the knees.
- Pull the arms back while arching the back.
- Land with soft knees and abs braced. Try 5 Salmon jumps. Maximize with 10-20.