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  1. #1
    Advanced BHUZzer stardancer's Avatar
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    Dancing no longer a workout?

    Has anyone else found that they no longer get an aerobic workout from dancing? Especially Egyptian style? I have noticed in the last year or so that when I do a normal 20 min set I barely raise my heart rate, I don't sweat at all and I am definitely not getting a workout. I don't know if it's because I have a lot of ooey gooey moves and subtle accents or if it is because 20 min is no longer a challenge. Even with a 5 min drum solo i barely get winded. However, dancing with a band really is a workout since they can't seem to figure out what 20 min means and there is a lot more fast,upbeat music. That's it...I just need live music more often... ..l;,


  2. #2
    Established BHUZzer Whisper's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    The same thing happened to me within the first year of dancing. I just figured my body became use to it?? In my mind I likened it to when you 'plateau' in dieting or exercise and what you've been doing no longer brings results.


  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer sumayasaahir's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    I agree. I need a more high impact faster tempo cardio workout. I dont think this dance should be marketed as a great way to loose weight unless you are teaching the hoppier folkloric styles...


  4. #4
    I could get used to this! Arella's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    I dont think this dance should be marketed as a great way to loose weight unless you are teaching the hoppier folkloric styles...
    I agree,,, I am constantly asked if belly dance is good exercise and while everyone else in the area says it is... I have a hard time agreeing...
    esp, in a "dance class"
    I mean typically in most classes,,,, theres talking for the first 5 min... alittle warm up/stretch...getting
    music ready, maybe a little more talking..... working on a piece of a routine..
    going over it slowly,,,, asking ques.... more slowly..... next piece,,, repeat slowing going over it... everyone 'gets it',,, run through maybe 3 or 4 times,
    heart rate picks up a bit... maybe the beginning of a sweat!!...
    end of class... stretch

    There are exceptions ofcourse... (Suhaila's classes come to mine!)
    And ofcourse advanced classes are more active...
    but typically I can't see really getting in sharp doing a couple of beginner
    bellydance classes a week... like people seem to want to believe will happen...


  5. #5
    Established BHUZzer gotraqs's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    I think it depends quite a lot on your workout. When I do an hour of drills, I'm pretty sweaty by the end. I think staying in motion helps a lot.


  6. #6
    Ultimate BHUZzer kina's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    Aziza Sa'id says (somewhere on her website, hey, where did she go?) that you should be able to dance for a full hour at the rate that you would for a performance, which is a cardiovascular workout.

    While the performance itself might be only 20 minutes, your practice sessions should not be.

    Depending on the level, my classes are cardio, albeit low intensity. I take a combination, break it down and treat it like an aerobics class, we do the movement half tempo until I'm sure people have it, then tempo then double time, then from the top. These combination add up, so working on 30 seconds of a piece can take an hour and people will have experienced a cardio impact and sweat.

    I like it better when my assistant is there though, she can keep demo-ing while I go around correcting. If I don't have someone at the front of the class, people tend to stop working, dunno what that's about.

    When I'm practicing, i tend to stop and look at what I'm doing so if I don't like how something looks, i will work it until I do. When I'm performing, it's still a cardio workout because my movements are bigger than when I'm practicing.
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  7. #7
    Kimahri
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    I'm going to have to disagree. If a large portion of the class is talking/questions/stretching that's a choice of class structure and teaching style, not that this dance can't provide a good workout. I do a lot of cross-training because my body is more conditioned to dancing but the sweaty hordes leaving my classes every week are getting a good workout while dance training.

    ~~Kimahri


  8. #8
    Ultimate BHUZzer mish_mish's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    Quote Originally Posted by sumayasaahir View Post
    I agree. I need a more high impact faster tempo cardio workout. I dont think this dance should be marketed as a great way to loose weight unless you are teaching the hoppier folkloric styles...
    Yep. I agree. For most people, unless you are in a belly fitness class, there isn't going to be much in the way of cardio. It's fun, and it does help increase flexibility, body awareness, and toning, but it's not the same as 30 minutes on the treadmill for me.


  9. #9
    Advanced BHUZzer stardancer's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    When I posted I wasn't speaking of class or practice time so much as actually performing. Sometimes I see pictures of dancers during a performance and I am like, "why are they so sweaty?" I'm wondering if it is because they are doing a long piece, it's hot where they are or if they are actually getting a workout from it.... cause i know when I am performing I'm not getting a workout! I think class has the potential to be aerobic though. All the time I hear people say to me "wow, you must feel that in the morning" I usually tell them it is no more physically taxing for me than taking a walk outside since I have been doing this for almost a decade now.


  10. #10
    Master BHUZzer tattood1's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    DANCE classes often aren't work outs. you are learning a move, a beat, being told what attitude etc & maaaybe the last half hour you run thru a choreo vigorously.

    i just quit a ballet folklorico class recently cause we stood around too much.

    i get students who have desk jobs who do consider my class a work out but it isn't for me & i'm having weight trouble so i'm trying all sorts of stuff like yoga, an elliptical, latin dances etc.

    i do think once you "get" it & have cardio for an hour you need to cross train. many pros do. jillina's very cute personal trainer would arrive after i was leaving hauling in weights & ona those big balls. i asked her about it & she said yes she didn't just bd.

    many names irl for a living for a are aerobic instructors or yoga instructors. so they often don't just bellydance. tina


  11. #11
    Ultimate BHUZzer mish_mish's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    You can tell the people who just belly dance!


  12. #12
    Mega BHUZzer mahsati's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    Quote Originally Posted by stardancer View Post
    When I posted I wasn't speaking of class or practice time so much as actually performing. Sometimes I see pictures of dancers during a performance and I am like, "why are they so sweaty?" I'm wondering if it is because they are doing a long piece, it's hot where they are or if they are actually getting a workout from it.... cause i know when I am performing I'm not getting a workout! I think class has the potential to be aerobic though. All the time I hear people say to me "wow, you must feel that in the morning" I usually tell them it is no more physically taxing for me than taking a walk outside since I have been doing this for almost a decade now.
    Part of the sweating thing is also the way your body reacts to exercise. When I first became a dancer, I would almost never sweat. I could dance for hours without sweating, but I also over-heated more than once. As my body became more accustomed to the 2-3 hour class sessions, practices, rehearsals and long performances, I began to sweat more. I was concerned about it, so I talked to my doctor who explained to me that since my body is accustomed to the length and strenuousness of the workout, that it has been conditioned to sweat more readily than before. It still happens to me now, after 10 years of doing this every day - and probably always will :) Other people's bodies may react differently, but my doctor sad it is a part of the normal variation.


  13. #13
    Master BHUZzer tattood1's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    i was always told that if you manage your breathing you will sweat less. many people due to nerves inadvertently hold their breath while dancing & eventually become a sweaty mess. tina


  14. #14
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    Every time this question comes up, my answer would be, "It depends on what you mean by a 'workout'".

    I agree with Sumaya that it won't push your heart rate into the cardio zone unless you do bouncy folkloric stuff, but is more compatible with weight loss goals than sitting on the couch watching tv and eating ice cream.

    It IS aerobic, in the sense that it provokes movement of large muscles and prompts them to burn oxygen, thereby burning more calories than the act of typing a message here on bhuz.

    It DOES strengthen and tone muscles more effectively than curling up and reading a book, though it won't give you the strength that comes of dedicated weight training. My rolfer told me after probing my deep abdominal muscles that I have MUCH better tone on my deeper level of abs than most people, because crunches typically don't reach the deeper layers. She said it's much healthier to have your deeper layer match your surface layer, as mine does.

    And of course, Kimahri makes a valid point that it depends on what you do in class. Some classes involve moving continuously more than others do.

    Whether you're talking about burning calories, improving flexibility, or building strength, belly dancing is going to give you more benefit than doing something sedentary. To me, the question is, "What are you comparing belly dance to?" If it gets someone off the couch and moving, getting activity they otherwise wouldn't get, it's good exercise.


  15. #15
    Master BHUZzer tattood1's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    when my students ask this i say my class is like walking around the block. in other words low impact. iif you have trouble walking around the block you'll get something out of my class. if you are a jock chick no. i then point out it is dance and you get more than a workout with dance. it is a creative process too.

    when weight comes up i tell them flatly i lost a few pounds just getting off the sofa but when i lost real weight a year back it was because i DIETED. i then say i gained that weight back cause i stopped dieting.

    i stress that my figure is not the result of bellydance (yes i get does bellydance make you fat, ruin your stomach questions) i stress my figure is the result of donuts. totally separate issue. i then say if you bellydance, run, weight lift whatev everyday but eat bad it won't matter.

    in short i tell them it is a good start if you don't usually exercise. tina
    Last edited by tattood1; 01-13-2008 at 01:08 PM.


  16. #16
    *maria*
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    dancing has ceased being a "workout" for me AGES ago.
    Even flamenco, I only break a sweat when I'm practicing escobillas for hours.

    The only dance I get a SERIOUS sweat workout in is African. It's killer.
    Even the people who have been dancing it for years are sweating it up.

    That being said, I have to be really careful when I'm teaching, because 90% of my classes are filled with out of shape people, and I just don't mean the way they look, I mean aerobically.


  17. #17
    Kimahri
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    I'll never take diet out of the weight loss equation but where exercise is concerned impact and intensity are two different things. It is very possible for a workout to be both low-impact (kind to the joints) and high-intensity (significant cardio).

    ~~Kimahri


  18. #18
    *maria*
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    African dance is definitely hard on the joints. At least the style taught around here. Too much jumping for me.


  19. #19
    Master BHUZzer tattood1's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    gahhh african!!!

    yay it's easy to think you're fit when you just bellydance then you go do something else & get your butt handed to you. tina
    Last edited by tattood1; 01-13-2008 at 01:12 PM. Reason: cause i'm illiterate


  20. #20
    Advanced BHUZzer Safiyah's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    I sweat more during performance; I think that the adrenaline rush has a lot to do with it. Even though I only dance for 20 minutes, my body is operating at level 10. After coming down from that rush I'm more tired than I'd usually be - even though at home I practice 45 min to an hour or more at a time and don't feel tired afterwards.

    Also, just because someone isn't sweating doesn't mean they aren't getting a workout.


  21. #21
    Master BHUZzer zamora's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    i found that happening too.
    i do understand that our bodies "get used" to what we do
    so, instead of coaching 3 days a week, i took more clients, expanded to 5 days....it's working again!
    z


  22. #22
    Advanced BHUZzer Nepenthe's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    I would love it if bellydance was enough because I don't have time for other forms of exercise on top of practice. I used to do a lot of really heavy working out, kickboxing, boxing, running. My knees couldn't take it and I had to quit. I wish I knew of a high-intensity, low-impact workout!

    I think most people do not need hard-core cardio unless they are trying to lose weight. Moderate level of exertion should be enough for every day fitness and weight management. But for strength-training, I think we need something else. That's why I do yoga and pilates. I'm really trying to get into a good yoga habit this year, doing it every other day.

    For dancing, I found salsa class was a much better cardio workout than bellydancing. And african too - I miss taking African dance.


  23. #23
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    Quote Originally Posted by maria View Post
    That being said, I have to be really careful when I'm teaching, because 90% of my classes are filled with out of shape people, and I just don't mean the way they look, I mean aerobically.
    My beginning classes are geared towards the any age/any shape crowd, so this is true for me as well. If anyone asks me about losing weight, I will tell them that I don't promise that because we don't get terribly aerobic. However, they will likely experience an improvement in muscle tone, strength and flexibility. That said, I've had several beginning students (most of whom report regular practice outside of class) who have lost a significant amount of weight and reduced several inches - even one whi told me her cholesterol has dropped dramatically.


  24. #24
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kimahri View Post
    I'll never take diet out of the weight loss equation but where exercise is concerned impact and intensity are two different things. It is very possible for a workout to be both low-impact (kind to the joints) and high-intensity (significant cardio).

    ~~Kimahri
    I can't do high impact beacuse my knees and ankles are shot - saiidi hopping steps can cause excruciating pain if I don't do them carefully and after brin properly warmed up. I still do a very intense low impact cardio workout that leaves me dripping with sweat, though - 35 minutes walking on the incline treadmill, and 20 minutes on an elliptical machine.


  25. #25
    Advanced BHUZzer Bellydancefanatic's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    Has anyone ever done Rania's bellydance aerobic workout DVD? She has so many DVDs, but this one in particular is pretty hardcore. I've gotten through the whole thing only once!

    Or it may be because I'm out of shape.....

    Oh well! Every movement is bellydance, and you never have time to rest. Maybe that's the key! Don't stop moving. I agree that staying in motion gets you good cardio. I LOVE to shimmy! So I dance to music that calls for lots of shimmy, or an appropriate taqsim (am I spelling that right?) that I can shimmy the whole way through.

    I would think that because you have been dancing for so long, you're body has got used to it. That's great! I guess it's just time for you to up your game!


  26. #26
    Mega BHUZzer mekyria's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    To me, bellydance isn't effective as a cardio excercise. I get on my hometrainer three times a week to get my heartrate up. My students are not used to exercising on a regular base so they're getting something out of it I guess, especially since I added a few squatting excercises to the warming up.

    During performances I sweat a lot more then during intensive practice or workshops. I think the 'holding your breath because of the nerves' might be involved, I have a history of hyperventilation when I'm stressed out.


  27. #27
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    Getting back to stardancer's original question, yes, with any type of exercise you reach a point where your body can do it comfortably and you no longer feel "pushed". This applies regardless of what type of exercise you're doing. For example, if you want cardio exercise, it's good to switch between jogging, bicycling, swimming, etc.

    That's why fitness experts encourage people to cross-train rather than doing exactly the same type of workout all the time. Lifting weights one day, yoga the next, etc.


  28. #28
    Master BHUZzer Souzan's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    Here is what I do to keep my heart rate up during class during those times when the teacher is talking or changing music or helping a student. I wear a silent hip belt and just shimmy. Keep that shimmy going doing all the "down" times in class. One of the classes I go to is at a gym, so I do my own warmup on the treadmill or bike to get my heart rate up before I ever walk into class. Then keep shimmying to keep it up.

    Souzan


  29. #29
    Just Starting! adiemusfree's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing no longer a workout?

    Once you've raised your cardiovascular fitness up to cope with a 'typical' workout, whatever that is for you, you'll need to increase it (this is called training!). To increase CV demands, you can: increase length of workout, increase resistance (add weights), increase rate (more shimmies)...
    To answer the question about perspiration: the fitter you are, the more easily you'll sweat (and it will also depend on humidity - you'll sweat just the same, but in a humid climate the perspiration won't evaporate so it will drip).

    Fitness depends on what you want to be fit for - fit enough to do your normal day? Fit enough to run a marathon? Fit enough to protect your heart? Fit enough to lose weight? I have a sedentary job, and I dance 30 minutes a day minimum, I also walk cross country and up and down hills. This is enough to maintain the level of fitness I want. BUT if I wanted to be fit enough to keep up with my partner who does a lot of hill walking, I'd have to increase my workout load.

    A really vigorous workout that raises your heart rate to between 60 - 80% will 'burn calories', but research suggests that a slightly lower heart rate that is maintained for at least 30 minutes will help reduce weight more quickly than if you work out at a very high intensity for shorter periods. Something to do with aerobic and anaerobic loads. And exercise doesn't need to be done all at once - two 30 minute workouts count as much as one 60 minute one.
    So if you wanted to run for 30 minutes, and shimmy for 30 minutes, you'd have the equivalent of a reasonably good workout of 60 minutes, especially if you monitor your heart rate throughout and don't let it fall below 50 - 60%.
    I can't remember the references for this, but if you're interested you can look it up under Google Scholar.


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