When it comes to belly dancing, most people only regard it as a form of exotic dance mostly done for entertainment at clubs. That can’t be any further from the truth. There are many benefits of belly dancing that make it not just a simple dance form, but also an excellent sport.
In this article, City Dance will going to show you all of the things that regular belly dancing sessions can do for you. Hopefully, it’s going to give you the push to give this great dance style a whirl!
- Physical Benefits of Belly Dancing
- Health Benefits of Belly Dancing
- Spiritual Benefits of Belly Dancing
- Unique Benefits of Belly Dancing Compared to Others
- Final Words
Physical Benefits of Belly Dancing
The greatest benefits that belly dancing can give you are physical. A full routine makes use of many different muscles in your body. Additionally, it’s also going to improve your balance and coordination greatly.
Watch videos of belly dancers online and you’ll find that their muscles (particularly at the belly and lower body) are incredibly toned.
All of the different moves in belly dancing make full use of the muscles that are historically considered to be “feminine”, like the glutes (bottom muscles), abdominal muscles, and the quads (thigh muscles). An advanced belly dancing routine is also going to include moves that can strengthen the muscles in the arms, hips, and calves, too.
Therefore, belly dancing is basically a full-body exercise. If you practice regularly, all of these muscle groups are going to benefit. This makes belly dancing a highly attractive option for people who are looking to improve the shape of their body or their strength.
Improve Posture and Balance
Like in every other form of dance, a good posture and good balancing are important in belly dancing. Don’t worry if you’ve never taken up dancing as a hobby before. A course in belly dancing can help you attain and sharpen these abilities in no time.
The way it works for belly dancing is that it adapts many moves and postures from Yoga and Pilates. Combined together into a full-fledged routine, they work your spine, knees, and pelvis areas. If you want to perform well, it’s crucial to have good postures in these three crucial areas.
Belly dancing is one of the more physically relaxed dances out there. It doesn’t really force your body to perform uncomfortable moves or work against itself. Instead, it’s the exact opposite: you’re supposed to work with your body. All of the moves in belly dancing – when done correctly – naturally bring your body to the correct alignment and give it better poise.
Over the long term, these effects can be seen outside of the dance studio, as well! Your body is going to be more flexible and your posture is going to naturally be a lot better in day-to-day life.
Strengthen the Arms
Don’t let the name “Belly Dancing” fool you, you need to use other muscle groups and body parts in a routine, too.
Just about every initiate who tries out belly dancing for the first time is surprised at how hard they have to exercise their arms. You need to hold your arms aloft in the air for long periods.
Plus, once you get to know the different moves, you will find out that it takes a lot of arm strength to execute them well.
Belly dancing is a good workout option if you’re looking for a way to slim down your body. Scientifically, practicing belly dancing for an hour can burn up to 300 calories. If you combine this rigorous sport with a healthy diet, it can be an extremely effective weight management program.
However, if you’re truly looking at belly dancing as a way to manage your weight, we recommend that you combine it with other sports. Most belly dancing studios and classes only hold sessions a day or two within the week. Between the classes, try out other sports like swimming, yoga, or aerobics.
That will keep your streak going and, more importantly, it’s going to sustain your weight loss rate.
Skin Is Brighter & Clearer
After every dancing session, everyone is going to emerge sweaty and (honestly), gross. That’s the reality for just about every dancer. Surprisingly, that doesn’t mean your skin health is going to suffer. The opposite, in fact!
Belly dancers have been found to have brighter, clearer skin and look younger than their age.
It all has to do with the fact that your circulation system goes into overdrive every time you enter the studio and practice. A stronger circulation system delivers more oxygen to skin cells, strengthening them.
You can take advantage of this even further by drinking a lot of water before, during, and after classes. By keeping yourself hydrated, you can maintain the elasticity of your skin.
And of course, once you get home from the classes, jump right into the shower. Scrub the dead skin cells off with a loofah and exfoliant. Over the long term, you’re going to look radiant!
Check more: Top 10 Famous Belly Dancers In The World
Health Benefits of Belly Dancing
Although physical benefits are the ones that you can feel most clearly, practicing belly dancing for a long time is also linked to improvements in other aspects of your health.
Stress has become so prevalent these days that some consider it to be an epidemic. While there is no shortage of ways to “de-stress”, belly dancing has got to be one of the best ways to ease up your mind and your body. And it does that by allowing you to freely express yourself via your movements and the music.
Most people don’t get a lot of chances to express themselves in their daily lives. Be it on the stage or in the middle of a studio, belly dancers can bare their souls to the world with their movements.
Scientists have looked into this and found that dancing (in general) is an excellent medium to cope with the stresses of life. It offers positive emotions and relationships, as well as better cognitive and mental health.
The more you exercise, the better your sleep cycle is going to be.
Researchers have found that people who regularly engage in sports and stay active have fewer complaints about sleep issues and insomnia. As a matter of fact, vigorous exercise has been likened to sleeping pills. It improves the body’s ability to follow its natural sleeping cycle.
Between half an hour to an hour of practice per day can keep your sleeping cycle at a healthy level. However, we recommend against belly dancing before bedtime. All of the extra hormones, excitement, and exertion could potentially do more harm than good to your sleep quality.
Better Memory & Good for Your Mind
Dancing is, by nature, a mentally stimulating task. You have to coordinate the movement of different muscle groups and body parts. Your brain also has to analyze the music, find the rhythm, and formulate different moves in response to them, as well.
That is the reason why belly dancing – especially for people who engage in it regularly – can improve mental faculties greatly.
If you want to leverage this to the fullest extent, consider doing some improvisation other than just textbook moves. Improvisation forces your brain to perform at higher levels. Over the long term, your brain is going to be more malleable and flexible, too.
Reduce the Risks of Some Diseases
Belly dancing can protect you from many different diseases. Because you’re constantly on the move and put weight on your bones, you’re a lot less likely to contract osteoporosis. It’s a condition that makes your bones become brittle.
Because belly dancing exercises your mind, it could also protect you against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
And last but not least, like we pointed out earlier, if you have problems sleeping or are dealing with insomnia, you could literally sweat them off with an hour of dancing a day. Dancing can restore balance to your sleeping cycle.
Spiritual Benefits of Belly Dancing
Belly dancing isn’t really a form of ritualistic dance despite being one of the oldest forms of dancing still existing these days. It was more of a social or performative dance, even when we look at it through a historical lens.
However, according to one research, there are many people who consider belly dancing to be a lot more than just a social or performative dance. As the dancer loses themselves in the music and the choreography, they could enter a deep state of introspection that they described as feeling almost meditative.
Some even say that they could feel a connection to a higher power as they go through the fluid motions of the dance.
So, if you feel like you’re a spiritual person, maybe a quick course in belly dancing is just what you need to quiet your mind and turn your thoughts inward.
Be More Social
The truth of the matter is that belly dancing isn’t a popular form of dancing. It’s also quite selective. As such, when you enter a dance studio, you tend to meet people that share your values and pursuits.
Take the chance to connect and meet new people!
That way, you can form a network of friends for yourself. Such a network could be hugely useful when you’re feeling down. All of these people can provide you with the emotional support and the sense of purpose that you’re going to need to pull through.
Unique Benefits of Belly Dancing Compared to Others
Granted, if you’ve read such articles about other dance forms like ballet or hip-hop before, you would probably see all of the benefits above being listed out, too. Truth is that you can get just about all of the things above with any dance style.
But don’t get discouraged. There are many unique things that set belly dancing apart from others!
Easier for Childbirth
For pregnant women, belly dancing can make for an excellent prenatal exercise routine. Many of the moves can strengthen the muscle groups that are needed during the delivery process.
For example, it’s going to strengthen your abdominal muscles and certain moves like the hip tucks can showcase you how to move your pelvis. Being familiar with pelvic movement is an advantage during the childbirth process. In fact, it’s very similar to the pelvic rocking movement that’s commonly taught in prenatal exercise classes!
Not just prenatal, belly dancing can be useful after pregnancy, too. Childbirth is an inherently traumatic process and your body needs to heal. By doing slow forms of belly dancing moves, you can loosen up your muscles and work them up. That’s going to speed up the healing process greatly.
The abdominal and pelvis areas are the two most important body parts in belly dancing. As you move the muscles there, you’re basically giving your intestinal system a massage. So, in the long run, your intestinal and colon health are going to improve.
Do note that you shouldn’t eat before you practice. Practicing while being too full could make you nauseous.
Reduce Joint Pain
During a normal routine, you would be going through a wide range of motions like hip drops, circles, shimmies, and more. All of these moves put weight onto your joints and ligaments. You’ll also be putting them through many repetitive, vigorous motions.
Those things can help increase synovial fluid’s flow through your joints. It can reduce joint pain if you have it. If you don’t, your joint health is going to be a lot better.
Reduce Back Pain
Belly dancing moves can also improve your back health (when done properly, of course). Correct movements are going to shift your pelvis to a neutral position, either tipped slightly forward or tucked in.
This dancing style is also going to help relieve all of the accumulated stress on your back by counteracting the compression of your spinal disks. The effect is going to be especially notable if you’re an office worker with a relatively sedentary lifestyle.
And last but not least, by helping with your posture, belly dancing can protect you from lordosis – a condition where the spine curls naturally forward due to weak muscles.
1. Can Belly Dance Reduce Belly Fat?
Absolutely! Like we said earlier, the parts that are most active during a belly dance routine are the abdomen and the pelvis. As you work these areas hard, the fat in these areas burns up. The result is a slimmer belly and waistline.
It’s how all of the images of belly dancers show them to have almost impeccable figures.
2. How Often Should I Do Belly Dancing?
Formal classes typically open only one or two days a week, but there’s nothing to stop you from practicing at home. Putting in half an hour for 3-5 days a week is going to improve your health greatly and ensure that you don’t forget all of the moves you’ve learned in class!
The benefits of belly dancing are numerous. They are partly the reason why belly dancing – despite being such an old dance form – still hasn’t gone out of fashion. If all of the little perks sound nice and you’re interested in giving it a shot, do so! You definitely won’t regret it.