Put on your dancing shoes….

“Hard times require furious dancing.” – Alice Walker.

We are all aware of the importance of keeping fit – even if we don’t exercise regularly, we know that our bodies will benefit if we work out regularly. Working out, however, doesn’t mean we have to spend hours in the gym.

One of the best – and most enjoyable forms of exercise (in my opinion) is dance fitness. Not only does it burn calories and improve our muscular endurance, balance and overall fitness levels, it has numerous mental benefits.

Research dating back to the 1980s reveals that regular dance sessions can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, improve confidence, body image and well-being. An hour’s dance-fitness class can help banish the stresses of the day – as my own class members can confirm.

When I’ve had a difficult day, all I need is an hour teaching Mumbai Moves Bollywood fitness and I forget about everything else. Teaching the Latin and Ballroom moves in SOSA makes me feel as if I’m on ‘Strictly’ and when doing Chichi-Fit, I feel like a West End performer! Moving to favourite tunes – and even singing along – is such a feel-good exercise. And there are plenty of other benefits – mental and physical.

· Dance stimulates happiness endorphins in the brain – reducing day to day worries.

· Going to a dance-fitness class, whether in the gym, dance studio or local village hall, is a social experience. You can meet new friends and even take part in performances.

· Dancing, which forces us to remember steps, helps improve the memory – a sort of mental workout for the mind. At the moment, I have 60 different routines on the go – so my mind is truly working overtime.

· Dancing keeps us young, retarding the aging process – benefiting the heart, cardiovascular system and increasing lung capacity.

· Dance-fitness improves muscular endurance, allowing our muscles to work harder for longer without tiring.

· Dancing improves flexibility, which is particularly important as we age. During my dance-fitness classes, we use a great range of movement; flexing and exercising all the major muscle groups.

· Whether you choose SOSA, Chichi-Fit or Mumbai Moves Bollywood Fitness, you’re guaranteed to burn calories. Thirty minutes of dance can burn between 200 and 400 calories.

· Bone density is important and particularly for menopausal and post- menopausal women who are susceptible to osteoporosis. Dancing, as a load-bearing exercise, causes the muscles and tendons to pull on the bones which, in turn, stimulates bone cells to produce more bone.

· Dance-fitness classes help control cholesterol levels and balance blood sugar levels in the blood.

Most importantly, dance-fitness is such fun! Come and try one of the classes on offer and experience the benefits for yourself. As David Bowie said .. put on your red shoes and dance away the blues’ – but any colour dance shoes or jazz sneakers will do!