I’ll explain why.
Fitness benefits of salsa dancing
Like one of my classmates put it, before she started the course, she thought that we would do a little bit of dancing. That was an understatement of the century. 🙂 After the first 90 minutes of salsa I was drenched in sweat, could barely control my feet and was having FUN, FUN, FUN.
Like I had finally been in my element.
I’ve also learned that salsa mixes and matches elements from Latin music and Latin dances. In addition to (Cuban) salsa, we have learned a little bit of son, rumba (African origin) and reggaeton (also known as hip hop in tbe Anglo-Saxon world).
Pure salsa probably doesn’t even exist, and if you’d be dancing salsa in a club or in the street, your partner might suddenly add in some moves from rumba or son or reggaeton..
But now for the fitness benefits of salsa.
Salsa dancing improves your aerobic fitness. Like I said, I was breathless and drenched in sweat after my first class. Usually I’m so tired after the class that have to take a nap in the afternoon after I return from the class. The naps are getting shorter, so I think my aerobic fitness is gradually improving. 🙂
Salsa dancing improves your muscular endurance. Salsa doesn’t improve your muscular strength the way weight lifting does, but it does improve your muscular endurance. I think salsa is a good way to maintain and develop your overall muscular body control. Especially dancing rumba requires thighs of steel and the muscles of your torso get quite a workout too.
Salsa improves your core control. Learning to dance salsa well requires a tremendous amount of core control. All the muscles of your core – plus the muscles of your upper back – need to work effectively together so you’ll be able to do the hip and chest isolations that are part of salsa.
I think that salsa dancing is an effective antidote for low back pain and the stiffness caused by our sedentary lifestyle. I can usually feel and hear how the stuck-together vertebrae in my low back get unstuck when we do hip and chest isolations during the warm up. (I don’t recommend salsa for anyone with acute back problems though – it would probably be too much for your back).
If you watch the reggaeton clip below, you can see for yourself what it means to have a top-notch core control.
We were learning some reggaeton last Saturday and let’s just say that trying to shake my booty like the lady in the clip made me feel like I had suddenly grown extra body parts I didn’t exactly know what to do with.
Salsa dancing develops body coordination. When you grow older, you need to have a good body coordination to prevent falls and injuries. If you don’t like to move like an Oompa-Loompa, learn to dance salsa. 🙂
Did I also mention that learning to salsa is fun, even though it makes me feel like an Oompa-Loompa. 🙂 But hey, I’m a Finn, I’m not supposed to know how to move my hips!
If you want to improve your fitness and perhaps shed some pounds in a way that is both effective and fun, try salsa or some other Latin dance. You could also try ballroom dancing, but I don’t think it provides all the benefits that salsa offers. That’s because in ballroom dancing you usually move your torso in a one block which means they don”t exercise your core muscles like the Latin dances do.
Salsa dancing could be especially good for your fitness if you combine it with some resistance training.
I estimate that in 5 years I may look pretty good on the dance floor. 🙂