As we all know dancing is fantastic for our health, physically it burns calories, builds stamina, tunes our balance and also releases a huge amount of endorphins which makes us very happy people! But many of us don’t know how much stronger it can make us, take a look below at some examples of how dance can improve your bodies strength.

MAKING OUR BONES STRONGER
Bone strength is a significant health concern. Weakness in bones and the insufficient bone mass associated with osteoporosis can lead to fractures. Dance is a form of weight-bearing activity because your legs must support the entire weight of your body. The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that high-impact exercises, such as dance, not only keep bones strong but help build bone mass.

FLEXIBILITY
Although your daily life may not require you to lift your leg toward the sky or bend over backwards, dance stretches to increase flexibility can help you avoid injury in your regular activities. Why not give some of these stretches a try:

- Butterfly Stretch -
The butterfly stretch exercise stretches your inner thighs, groin, hips, and lower back.
1. Sit up tall with the soles of your feet pressed together and your knees dropped to the sides as far as they will comfortably go.

2. Pull your abdominals gently inward and lean forward from your hips.

3. Grasp your feet with your hands and carefully pull yourself a small way farther forward.

You should feel the stretch spread throughout your inner thighs, the outermost part of your hips, and lower back.

-Toe Touch-
The combination of movements used in this common dance stretch provides an effective stretch for the back, sides, arms and legs.
1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended with your toes pointing to the ceiling. Engage your core to stabilize you spine and rest your hands on your thighs.

2. Flex forward at your hips as you slide your hands down your legs toward your feet. Try to keep your back flat and avoid bending your knees. Pause when you feel tension in your calves and hamstrings. Hold for 20 seconds.

3. Slowly release the stretch and return to the starting position. Repeat two to three times.

- Shoulder and Arms -
When thinking of a dancer’s flexibility, most people only consider flexibility in the legs, waist and back, but dancers must also have tremendous flexibility in the shoulders and arms.
1. Begin the shoulder stretch by interlocking your fingers and rotating your wrists so that your palms face away from your body.

2. Gently lift your arms above your head and hold the stretch for about 10 seconds. Return to the starting position and place your left hand behind your head.

3.Grasp your left elbow with your right hand and gently press it down your back as far as comfortably possible. Hold for eight to 10 seconds before repeating on the other side.

YOUR CORE
As the name suggests, the ‘core’ refers to the central part of the body’s structure. It includes the muscles of the abdomen, the back and the pelvic region.
Whether you are involved in ballroom, ballet, folk or another type of dancing, a strong core will help protect your back and other parts of the body from injury.

Enjoy – Love Karen, Nicola and Sally xx

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