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Ballroom Dancing: Get Into The Groove!

Here’s a low-down on one of the best stress-busters for the young and old: Ballroom Dancing! We asked world dance sport champion Ednah Ledesma, who recently bagged gold with dance partner John Co in Latin dancing in the Blackpool Dance Festival in London – the equivalent of the Olympics in ballroom dancing competitions – to share her secrets in doing well in this craft and how this could benefit, the body, the mind and the soul.

Got a boss who breathes down your neck? Up to here with deadlines? And you think that when you get home you can relax, watch some TV…but then,the kids are at it again and the dishes are piled up in the sink! But just when you’re about to lose your mind, we have found a good way for you stressed out individuals to de-stress and to take your mind off things. We sat down with Ms. Ednah Ledesma Asano, champion ballroom dancer and world adjudicator, to talk about the effects of ballroom dancing on our body, our brain and our health.

We’ve heard of waltz, foxtrot, rumba, tango, cha-cha-cha and the hustle.We’ve also seen old movies wherein the prince takes the hand of the fair maiden and they waltz the night away. Sure it looks like ballroom dancing may just be for lovers expressing their true feelings for each other. But ballroom dancing is something way better than that. Sure it is good for the heart, but not just because of feelings of love for another person, but because ballroom dancing is considered to be very good cardiovascular workout. It is also good for muscle control, enhances endurance and helps improve balance and flexibility.

But can anyone aspire to be a ballroom dancer? Well, yes of course! As long as you are fit and without any heart problems, you can surely dance your days away. And anyone could just join in, be it a teddy-bear-cuddling 7 year old kid or a 75 year old butterfly collector. Anyone with the desire to be fit, have a toned body and a strong dedication to learn can enroll in ballroom dancing lessons. Who says this is just for oldies? It’s better to start living a healthy lifestyle while you’re enjoying the zest of youth. Ballroom dancing is definitely IN!

Ednah Ledesma Asano firmly believes that ballroom dancing has a great effect on stressed-out people. Having been a dancer since 1997, she is now an expert in her craft. By focusing on one’s body while dancing one can already take his or her mind off nerve-racking things that have bothered him or her the entire day. Ballroom dancing, she considers, is an escape from all the stressful demands of life. She also says that sweating kicks up your adrenaline and this makes you feel really good both inside and out. For her, ballroom dancing is equivalent to an hour’s worth of going to the gym. But it is definitely more fun than a routine gym exercise.

Not only that, ballroom dancing is now getting recognized as a social sport. Groups of friends get together once or twice a week for two to four hours just to practice dancing. Ms. Ednah attributes this bonding with friends as another reason why people forget about their worries when they ballroom dance. A lot of her students look forward to coming to her classes, firstly to dance but also to have a mini get-together with friends. It has become such an addiction for some people that they always find the time for ballroom dancing.

This also gives way for good relationships on the dance floor to flower. Good friends end up dancing together, and for Ms. Ednah this is essential for a smooth dance routine.  She says that if you have a good dance partner you will have to worry less about the flow of the dance. If there is a good connection between partners, if they jive together really well, then they enjoy the dance routines much better. She also says that ballroom dancing has a medicinal touch-As a ballroom instructor, she has had students who are afflicted with some illness, specifically diabetes. “I’ve met a lot of people who are diabetic and they dance to control their liability, their high sugar level,” she says. Ms. Ednah herself has parents who have diabetes,”I think it runs in my family. I don’t say I don’t have diabetes, I’m praying I don’t catch it, probably because I’ve danced for so many years. I have a sweet tooth so it can easily be there, but I have controlled it”.

If you guys are still not convinced about ballroom dancing being the ultimate stress buster, here’s something for those who want to tone their bodies but can’t attain their desired goals with other exercises. You would be surprised how ballroom dancing targets the entire body, may it be the eyes, the shoulders, almost everything. Presence of mind is key to ballroom dancing, not only is the brain exercised by always being mindful of the steps and the counting, you also have to be mindful of your other body parts. Ms. Ednah calls this the friendly stress in dancing. “You really need to prepare, it’s a holistic spiritual experience, it looks like its very easy but you undergo a lot of mental, emotional stress aside from the physical demands of dancing”.

Of course it is this friendly stress that keeps the body toned, the muscles worked, the mind exercised and what people keep coming back for in ballroom dancing.You get to be with your friends, sweat a lot, work out muscle groups and burn a lot of calories. According to a research done, middle-aged women of average height and weight can burn up to 184 calories after an hour of doing the foxtrot and a whopping 294 calories doing the jitterbug. Give yourself theopportunity to experience ballroom dancing. Your body needs it, your mind needs it. You owe it to yourself to give your body some pampering and some well deserved fun!

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