It has been medically proven that dancing regularly has a fantastic effect on people’s health. Not only can it help your breathing but in general it can make you a lot fitter, tone your body (just look at the celebrities on Strictly) and, most of all, provide you with a lot of entertainment and enjoyment.
As we get older, however, more and more seems to get in the way of us enjoying a good time on the dance floor. Many of these things are to do with physical (body letting us down) or mental issues (nervous or self-consciousness). However, no matter what issues you are facing, dancing can help you. Below are 5 top tips to help you get back into dancing, whilst ensuring you don’t injure yourself:
1. Understand your body
If it has been a few years since you really cut loose on the dance floor, you may find your body doesn’t function in the way you remember it used to. Not only do our muscles get stiffer as we get older but we also lose fat in certain areas of our bodies, such as the balls of our feet.
This means, if your feet are not properly cushioned when dancing, you will be in quite a bit of pain the following day. Try to remember to wear cushioned soles or gel inserts when you get the chance to dance. You should also make sure any old injuries are strapped up in order to avoid harming yourself further.
2. Remember to stretch
Stretching has always been important, no matter what age you are. Muscles need to warm up before you just head straight into exercise and this is also true of when you go dancing. Unfortunately, as you get older, stretching becomes even more important because you are more susceptible to injury. So, even if you’re just planning on just waltzing, you still need to stretch.
If you know you are going dancing at some point in the day, try to warm p your muscles a few hours beforehand. You don’t have to do this so it is obvious to those around you. For example, you can easily sit at a desk in your office and stretch out your legs, flexing your calf muscles by pointing and raising your toes up and down again. When you visit the bathroom, stretch out your back by keeping your legs straight and bending over as far as you can to touch your toes.
3. Work on your toes and heel strength
As we get older, we also lose a bit of functionality, which can cause issues when dancing. Therefore, if you are committed to getting your groove on again, you can do some small exercises with your toes and heels, which will strengthen them.
As a toe exercise, when you are at home, barefoot, try picking things up with your feet and toes. Make sure you do this regularly and try doing it with objects of all shapes and sizes. This is a very simple exercise but it really works.
To strengthen your heels, it is best to stand on a step of sorts. So, you can do this at home or at work (if safe to do so). You should stand on the step with only the balls and toes of your feet. Make sure you are secure and keep hold of the banister to maintain your balance. You should them lower your heels downwards slowly. You should feel the stretch in your legs, heels and feet. It is recommended to hold this stretch for approximately 20 seconds. Repeat for a minute and try to do this exercise a few times a day.
4. Get fitter
One of the biggest hindrances to people enjoying themselves when dancing is their lack of fitness. It is harder to maintain fitness as we get older but it is increasingly important to do so in order to avoid disease and other health complications. Dancing will keep you in good shape but you do need to have a good level of fitness to really be able to enjoy dancing itself.
5. Dance like no one’s looking
As with younger people, many older people suffer from body consciousness and other issues which make them want to avoid dancing in public. Try and let these feelings go. There is nothing more heart lifting and enjoyable then just letting go and dancing. Dancing, like conventional exercise, releases endorphins into your body, this will lift your mood and make you a lot happier.
In truth, no one really cares that much if you can’t dance that well. Just the fact you’re getting up and giving it a go is enough to earn other people’s respect, as well as encourage other people, who may also be suffering from body consciousness or nervousness, to get up and dance too.
Laura blogs for. When not blogging, she can often be found stockpiling dancing tips for when she turns fifty.