8 May

Get On Your Dancing Shoes

A couple ballroom dancing

Social dancing is growing in popularity around the world with BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ now a national institution. So why not think outside the box (and on your feet) and incorporate dance into your running fitness regime?

Dance is a complete departure from the mundane. Sway with the beat to rejuvenate your spirit, relax your mind and prepare for that big race. And while it may sound strange to suggest that dance could be a supplement to your race training, there are countless reasons why dance is a useful method of preparation.

So what is it?
Social dancing is a term that encompasses lots of different partner dances – including the salsa, tango, and swing. Most participants join a class, where you learn steps, positions, movements and combinations.

I don’t have enough experience to take part?
You don’t have to be a naturally gifted dancer to take part – take inspiration from the Ed Balls of this world. The reality is the most uncoordinated person, even one who would break out in a cold sweat at the thought of the dance floor in a nightclub, can get involved in dancing as long as they have learned the basic techniques. The techniques comprise of simple steps, complemented by a set of rules for directions. Learn those and all you need to do is practice and continue learning.

Will I enjoy it?
Absolutely! Social dancing is a hugely enjoyable and sociable activity, which allows you to interact with others, and even if you are a little shy – talking isn’t essential – why not let your dancing do the talking?

Does this really count as cross training?
It sure does, let’s consider some of the aspects involved in dancing – lateral movement, core strengthening, cardio, mobility, flexibility, oh and did we mention a whole lot of fun?

Easy ways to get involved?
Like so may other fitness activities, dance has provided the basis for a number of gym classes. Zumba and jazzercise are two highly popular classes.

How do I get started?
Get along and join your local dance class, the benefits will be evident in not only your running performance but also in taking part in what is both a sociable, fun activity as well as a great workout.