THE BENEFITS OF BELLY DANCING: Join us on Thursday Nights! Register Online Now!

Author: nichellen
Date Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2014

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Belly Dancing, also called Raks Sharki or Middle Eastern dance, is a form of dance that many are familiar with. But few understand the effects it has on the human body. The graceful hip drops, rolls, and pivots of this dance form utilize muscle groups in the abdomen, pelvis, trunk, spine, and neck, working with the body instead of against it. Unlike ballet, and other traditional European dance forms which can potentially alter and deform the skeleton,belly dancing is based on movements that come naturally to the female form. There is a wealth of health benefits awaiting those who practice this form of dance! Many people are surprised to learn that belly dancing involves much more than the belly! In fact, I would argue that one uses their hips and glutes while "belly dancing" more than the abdominal muscles themselves. Belly dancing is vigorous and will make you break a sweat. The fast movements of the hips and shoulders are enough to really get your heart pumping, offering tremendous cardiovascular benefits. When performed as exercise, belly dancing can be compared to any other aerobic workout. Belly dancing is also a wonderful way to strengthen the major muscles of your body. When performed correctly, belly dancing can also stretch and release tension in the back. Because it is a low-impact form of exercise, belly dancing won't jolt or jar your body. Hence, belly dancing can benefit many parts of the body simultaneously. Here are some of the health benefits of Middle-Eastern Dance:

1. Belly Dance Relieves Back and Joints pains

During the dance, the movements of hip drops, circles, figure eights, and shimmies put the joints and ligaments in the lower back and hip through a full range of gentle, repetitive motion. This movement helps increase the flow of synovial fluid (nature’s lubricant) in these joints. When movements are done properly, the pelvis is tipped forward, or tucked somewhat; neutral position that can help prevent lower back problems. Belly Dance can help relieve stress to the back, counteracting the almost constant compression of the disks that occurs from sitting and a sedentary lifestyle. These toned muscles improve posture and help prevent back pain that can be caused by the unnatural curving forward of the spine that occurs when muscle groups are weak (lordosis).

2. Belly Dance Increases Bone Density

Because a woman is on her feet, moving during the dance, it is considered a weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercise can prevent osteoporosis and strengthen bones.

3. Belly Dance is a Low impact Form of Exercise

The graceful hip drops, rolls, and pivots of this dance form utilize muscle groups in the abdomen, pelvis, trunk, spine, and neck, working with the body instead of against it. Unlike ballet, which can potentially alter and deform the skeleton, or other dance forms that work against rather than with the body’s physical inclinations, raks sharki is based on movements that come naturally to the female form. The benefits of belly dance can be enjoyed by women of all ages.

4. Belly Dancing Reduces Stress

If you want to try a type of dance that helps to relax your mind as well as your body, try belly dancing. Belly dancing requires tremendous relaxation and concentration, as you must focus on isolating various parts of your body. Many people say that the melodious, flowing movements of belly dance help to calm and soothe the mind.

5. Belly Dance Builds the back muscles evenly:

Belly-dancers use their torsos a lot-much more than ballet, modern or tap dancers. Only jazz dancers come close to our use of rib movements and undulations. These movements, coupled with shoulder movements, exercise the back muscles, and they exercise the muscles evenly. Strong back muscles prevent back injuries, and they promote good posture as well.

6. Belly dance Exercises the arms:

New belly-dance students are always surprised by much they have to use their arm muscles. Belly-dancers have to hold their arms up for long periods of time, and it actually takes quite a lot of strength to perform arm movements slowly and gracefully.

7. Belly Dance Aids digestion:

It's true! Exercising the abdominal area, not just by rolling the belly, but also by swaying the torso, helps food move along the digestive system. Any form of exercise will have this effect to some degree, but belly-dance is especially good for this purpose.

8. Belly Dancing Aids Weight Control and Improves Self Image

Belly dancing can have a positive impact on your weight, improving your self image. If performed regularly, belly dancing can actually encourage weight loss, as it burns calories as well as increases your metabolic rate. Belly dancers come in a variety of body types and sizes. Belly dancing will make you more aware of your posture, grace, body language and facial expressions, all helping to improve your self image. If you attend a belly dancing class, you will probably see several different sizes of bodies, all just as beautiful as the others.

9. Belly Dancing Is an Internal Massage

Belly dancing can be very beneficial to the health of your internal organs. It is sometimes said that belly dancing was developed as a way to prepare the body for childbirth. Since belly dancing centers around controlling the muscles of the abdomen, it may make carrying and delivering a baby easier on your body. Also, many women notice that belly dancing helps to relieve menstrual cramping.

10. Helps to relieve PMS

Soothing belly dance movements such as rolling the hips, figure of eights and undulations can help to alleviate congestion in the pelvic area. Circulation to the pelvic area improves and at the same time, the feeling of relaxation alleviates stress. The good news is that ANYONE can belly dance! Any size, age, or skill level! Once you get over the initial embarrassment, it is really a lot of fun and a total body workout at the same time. Taking a belly dancing class is a great way to relieve stress, make new friends, and increase a positive body image.

If you have any medical problems or are pregnant, you should consult your doctor before attempting to belly-dance.


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