Last week I discussed the improvements that many people see as a result of starting dance. This week I want to continue on that theme and write about how dance can improve other disciplines. Much of what I speak about may be a repetition from last week, but will hopefully extend the understanding of why these improvements can be important for many people. I will start by relating a few areas to other sports and how dance may improve sporting performance, after I will move on to other types of disciplines.
The first area people will begin to see improvements in is the cardiovascular system. Being able to sustain your performance over the whole dance class can be tiring, but rewarding. Each time the energy is sustained, the cardiovascular system can push further the next time overall increasing stamina. This process may take time for some individuals for others the increases may be quite rapid. Something that becomes important is not over doing it and pushing yourself too far, as this will result in a long recovery period that in turn can be detrimental to the improvements in the cardiovascular system. To do avoid this it is appropriate to find the right level of class, or if in a class that is too hard spend a few minutes catching your breath at certain points. Improvements in the cardiovascular system can be applied to many different endurance sports, for example, football, hockey and basketball, but can also help in lower impact sport like walking or hiking, enabling you to walk further distances before becoming tired.
Another area where improvements can be seen are in muscle tone and strength. However, I would argue here that not all types of dance develop as much muscle tone and strength as other forms of exercise, it can be argued that most types of dance will increase muscle tone and strength to some areas. Ballroom and Tap will help strengthen the ankles, Street Dance will strengthen the arms and so on. These improvements in turn can help improve performance in other areas, stronger ankles can help with activities like jumping, ie, long jump and high jump, and stronger arms can help with climbing. Many types of dance will also help tone and strengthen the legs which can aid performance in running, which feeds into many different sports.
Improvements in balance can not only help with those prone to falling, something discussed in last week’s post, but can also aid sports like netball and gymnastics. During these sports you may often find yourself in a less comfortable position but have to hold it before being able to move on, having good balance can improve your confidence in having to be in these positions.
Other areas of improvement like confidence can aid other disciplines, like drama, as well as just increasing confidence in everyday life. These areas can grow through positive reinforcement of getting steps and routines right and meeting relevant goals, these may aid towards greater body confidence or getting confidence in your own ability.