Belly dancing is excellent exercise, and it involves more than just the midriff. It does not have to cost a lot to get started; you can enroll in a class or work from online tutorials and videos at home. Here are some reasons why belly dancing is considered both fun and healthy.
Belly dancing is easy on the joints. They are in motion, but not experiencing jolting impact. This can be very helpful for women with joint problems in their hips or knees. Belly dancing is also said to be good for the lower back, an area that often experiences relentless compression from excessive sitting (at computers, television, etc.). In fact, some dancers report an improvement in joint flexibility and a reduction in pain in joints that were bothersome before they began dancing.
Health issues specific to women are said to be relieved and helped by belly dance. PMS, for example, may be eased by dancing – the rocking motion of the pelvis is said to relieve pelvic congestion and reduce the feeling of bloating and cramping that sometimes comes with PMS. Belly dancing may also reduce stress levels and tension.
The movements involved in belly dance are somewhat meditative, particularly the slower movements. Faster movements can be really fun, too, and when you’re having fun you usually feel a lot less stressed!
Sources report that belly dancing can burn up to 300 calories an hour – more or less depending on your intensity level and type of dancing. Burning calories is, of course, key to losing weight.
Many people get frustrated because they don’t feel like they have the space to exercise. Large equipment like treadmills and exercise bikes may work, but they take up a lot of space. Belly dancing can be done in your living room or any room, and you don’t need a lot of equipment to get started.
Evidence points to belly dancing as a means to help prevent osteoporosis. While it’s low-impact, belly dancing is considered a weight-bearing exercise since the dancer is standing and/or moving at all points during the dance. Exercise of this nature has been shown to help prevent bone loss and subsequently osteoporosis.
Originally, say some belly dance experts, the basic movements of belly dance were based on the movements of women in labor. Many of the pelvic motions are indeed helpful for childbirth preparation and during childbirth.
Belly dancing during pregnancy (under professional supervision) is said to be an excellent way to prepare key muscles for the birth experience, and during birth itself the flexibility and motion of the pelvic area can help make labor more comfortable and efficient. Belly dancing is also considered a good post-partum exercise to tone the muscles that were stretched during pregnancy.