Do you associate ballet with spinning around and pretending to be a fairy? Is it something you briefly engaged with when you were 4? Whether or not you have ever pointed your toes or been to a ballet class, ballet fitness classes have something to offer YOU, the adult.
The word “Ballet” can sometimes put people off. I have heard, “I’m not graceful enough”, or “I have never danced” but classes are designed for any body shape and any level of fitness. There is no dancing involved, just ballet inspired exercises and stretches to lengthen your body with very little impact.
“Ballet is a sport that requires strength, stamina and core stability.”
Ok, so most of us are not going to perform on stage at the Royal Opera House any time soon, but would we like the grace, poise, flexibility and strength of a dancer? Yes please! When taken on in earnest, ballet is a sport that requires strength, stamina and core stability and its benefits for the body and mind are well documented.
Here are only 5 of the many reasons why you should take up a class now:
1 Become aware of and improve your posture
Improving your posture will make you become more body aware and will not only improve the way you feel but the way you look. Good posture can lift your confidence, give you an energy boost, reduce stress and optimises your breathing.
2 Increase your core stability
“ Stretching will alleviate muscle tightness and balance the body.”
Strengthening your core muscles will help you stand taller. This is essential for maintaining balance in ballet. Working these muscles will also help you on your way to a flat stomach and alleviate any lower back pain caused by poor posture.
3 Increase your flexibility
Stretches are performed in a safe environment and will increase your range of movement. Stretching is a valuable part of any workout regime and is often overlooked because it doesn’t provide the more visible results that people are striving for doing squats and lifting weights. Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong and healthy and maintains a range of movement in the joints. If you drive or sit for long periods of time, your glutes (muscles of the buttocks) shut down and other muscles and joints in your body become over-stressed. If you stretch on a regular basis you are less likely to suffer with joint and muscle pain, or incur an injury. Stretching will alleviate muscle tightness and balance the body.
4 Improve your strength
Ballet works every muscle in your body (including some you didn’t know you had!). In particular it strengthens the core – the most important part of your body. Core stability strength (the deeper core muscles) is important to facilitate movement. All movement comes from the core and if it is strong, you are less likely to suffer injury, keeping your movements strong and pain free. A strong core will also protect your inner organs and central nervous system, alleviate or remove back pain, improve posture and flatten your tummy.
“ … a far cry from some of the mindless physical activities available at the gym.”
5 Stimulate your mind
Ballet workouts require you to engage your mind with what your body is doing. You are not able to go on automatic pilot as you might do on a running machine, for example, if you are not already watching a TV screen to take your mind off what your body is actually doing. It is a far cry from some of the mindless physical activities available at the gym. It stimulates the mind and requires a strong connection between mind and body.
And then there is the music. Breaking Ballet uses classical music, in part because of its obvious beauty but mostly because of its documented effects on the brain and our emotions. Studies have shown that classical music can lower blood pressure, arouse emotion, alter brainwaves, foster brain developments in children and exert a calming effect.
Try something new
Freshen up your fitness routine and dig out your ballet shoes (or just take your socks off!) and come and give it a go.
You will complete each workout feeling inches taller and much calmer.