The Department for Health announced this week that the British population should ‘move more and eat less’ in order to tackle the rising obesity problem in Britain. This may sound like an obvious message to promote to the general public, however, the fact remains that we Brits have an ever expanding waistline and we don’t seem to take note of these vital messages!
The government’s biggest challenge will not be promoting public health messages and press releases but encouraging people to actually put its message into action. Most of us spend our working day sat down in front of a computer, with virtually no physical activity, and commute to and from work by car. This leaves us precious little time to fit the required level of activity that would help keep us at a healthy weight. We all know we should exercise more but, with limited time, it is often difficult to find the motivation.
The key to any successful and sustainable exercise regime is to make it part of your daily routine and make sure it is an activity you enjoy and do not find a chore; otherwise the novelty will soon wear off! The local gym or a running club might be fine for those who take fitness seriously but, for others, the very thought of squeezing in to a tight lycra outfit and running on the treadmill next to a fitness fanatic is enough to bring them out in a cold sweat. Moreover, gym membership can be an expensive mistake, with most gym contracts tying you in for around £50 per month for 12 months. TGI data conducted a research study and found that only 27% of all gym members regularly go to the gym!
So what about dancing as a fun and active way of keeping fit? Regular viewers of BBC 1’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ will know that the professional dancers on the show are far from overweight and have extremely tightly toned physiques. The celebrity contestants on the show also seem to have taken advantage of the health benefits of dancing. All of the female stars from last year’s show radically changed body shape by slimming down and toning up. Pamela Stephenson said of the 2010 competition to the Daily Mail, ‘Strictly Come Dancing is the best fat club in the universe,’ after losing over two stone. Felicity Kendall and Patsy Kensit also slimmed down by two dress sizes. It is not just the women either; former Eastender Ricky Groves shed over two stone when he took part in 2009.
So which sort of dancing is a good choice? Latin dancing such as the Argentine Tango seems to have much better results than slower types of dance such as ballroom and swing. Tango is much more energetic with its fast paced movements. The high energy nature of the dance not only burns more calories and raises the heart rate; the bending, twisting and lunging moves of the Tango are fantastic for toning up legs and bums, as well as helping improve flexibility and posture.
The social nature of the tango with its group style dancing classes can make it an extremely fun way of keeping fit as well as being a social event as you can learn as a group with friends or make new friends at the Tango classes. This will keep you going back time and time again! The rhythmic nature of the music can be addictive, and further good news is that many Tango dancers also find it an extremely therapeutic way of also improving their general mental well being. This is because to dance the Tango successfully, the dance requires intense concentration to ensure mastering the quick footwork; meaning that you can completely focus and shut off from the stresses and strains of busy daily life.