Dancing the Irish Jig: Dancing for Health and Fitness
Exercise is an essential part of improving physical and mental health. Running, biking, walking, swimming...all are great ways to get in shape. Although, sometimes your regular exercise routine gets somewhat monotonous and it is easy to stray from it. All of those weeks, months of hard work and discipline can go to waste once you stop. That will be your cue to mix it up and try something new!
Mix Up Your Routine with Dance
Dance is a great way to give your body a different type of workout. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and more self-confidence. Ballroom and Irish dancing, in particular, both can improve flexibility and stamina. It can also get other members of your family involved. Dance classes can also be taken at dance studios with multiple instructors and times available for you and your partner.
Varieties of Dance
The Irish jig is a lively, upbeat form of dancing that can be done alone, with a pair or in a group forming a square. There is a great amount of leg movement, rapid footwork and stomping of the heels that goes to the beats of the lively music. It is an old, social tradition that has lived on in Irish and dance history. It can be a great alternative form of exercise because it gets the heart rate pumping and is fun to perform. Different types ballroom dancing to consider:
- Waltz: Done by walking steps and side steps (box step). This is a smooth, romantic dance with soft round movements. Common dance for formal events/weddings. Slow music with a 2/2 beat used to perform.
- Fox trot: This is a standard ballroom dance with slow movement that focuses on perfect upper body form and slow foot movement. Forward and backward moving patterns are used along with smoothness. Slow blues music is used to perform this dance.
- Salsa: Danced to with salsa/latin music, both are fast and show a lot of rhythm. This type of dance requires quick foot and hip movements. This style can be done with partners or groups of people and partners can be switched.
- Merengue: An exciting, rhythmic latin type of dance. It requires several combinations of turns and walks.
- Tango: A very smooth, emotional and dramatic style of dance. Performed with sharp head turns and stops.
- Swing: Danced to with jazz music. Each partner swings each other closer and farther apart using arms and emphasis on quick foot movements.
- Rumba: A rhythmic dance style that tells a story of love between man and woman. Strong emphasis on the body showing eroticism and flirtatious rhythms.
Fast or Slow, You Decide
Some of the fast-paced, heart pumping, examples of styles of dance are salsa, merengue the Irish jig and rumba. Each features a series of quick beats and movements of your feet and (for some types), arms. All provide more of an aerobic workout. The tango, fox trot and waltz are slower types of dance but still provide a great workout, strengthening muscles in the legs and back.
Why Dance is Beneficial
Dance can give you a great cardiovascular workout and promotes muscle memory with more practice. All of the types of dance focus on using different muscles in your legs and also emphasize good posture. All forms of dancing are a great way to get you and your significant other to do something together and can be great fun!
Give Dance a Chance
Often times, a dance studio will have events to get their members involved. This is also a great way to meet new people and learn more about your dance ability. Dance is a great way to spend time with someone you love. It is not something to be afraid of, even for those who think they have two left feet. Instructors are understanding, patient and love to see their students learn. Dance is a great form of exercise, a great hobby as well as a great feeling of accomplishment for you and your partner. Learning different dance styles will make you feel more confident when attending events like work or anniversary parties as well as at weddings. Dance is a great alternative to ordinary exercise and has many benefits that cannot be compared.