Belly dance reaps many benefits. You may experience some or all of the following. Personally, Eliza has experienced all of these benefits! Remember that you should talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
1. Improve Posture
Perhaps the greatest benefit of belly dance is the fact that it improves posture! The most important part of belly dancing is maintaining a good, neutral posture to facilitate the movements and range of motions. Over time. your posture will improve in all aspects of your life.
2. Muscle Strengthening
It's a well-known fact that belly dance strengthens your core by targeting muscles for the isolated movements. What about other muscle groups? You'll be surprised to find out that belly dance targets your feet, calves, glutes, torso, shoulders, and forearms. It's a full body workout, and it will tone everything!
3. Muscle Lengthening
You may not know that belly dance lengthens your muscles and increases flexibility. The dance will push your range of motion to its limits, and over time, that range of motion will increase through repetitive motions.
4. Stress & Tension Reduction
Within your first few classes, you will find out where you hold your tension. Your shoulders? Your arms? Your back? Training in belly dance will help you work towards alleviating that tension. You will become more mindful of where you hold tension and belly dance will gently massage and work out those muscles. You will also have an hour of class to forget about life's worries and focus on dance. You should leave class feeling refreshed and relaxed.
5. Digestive Health
Any exercise aids in digestion. However, the isolated hip movements in belly dance is especially helpful to the gut. It's like massaging those organs, and can help stimulate digestion flow and assist in the digestive process.
6. Opening the Hips
With so many hip movements in belly dance, your hips will become looser and more open. This aids in correcting muscle imbalances or even preparing for childbirth.
7. Weight Loss
Depending on the intensity of your dancing, belly dance can burn up to 300 calories per hour! Combined with a healthy diet, belly dance is a great and fun way to lose weight.
8. Memory and Brain Function
Belly dance requires focus and concentration. Whether you're doing a choreography, or following along in class, your mind is at work. You mind must allow your body to do several things at once - your feet are following one rhythm, while your hips are twisting, and your arms are going in every 4 beats. There's a lot going on and it's a mind workout!
9. Self Confidence
Belly dance requires elegance and poise, which carry on through the rest of your life outside of class. Along with improving posture, you will also be doing a very feminine dance and exploring new movements in a safe environment. You'll find that you'll honor your body more, and become more accepting of your shape.
10. Low Impact Exercise
We all know exercise is good for you. What's unique about belly dance is that it works WITH your body. You will perform natural motions around your spine, instead of rigid or jarring motions that can cause harm. The impact on your ankles and knees is minimal.
11. Increase Bone Density
Belly dance is a weight-bearing exercise. You will be on the balls of your feet, carrying your whole body weight. This alone actually improves bone density.
12. Relieve Back Pain
The shimmy is a like a massage to your back. You'll feel that your back muscles will loosen, become more even, and eventually stop causing you pain. Belly dance movements also increase the flow of synovial fluid, which is nature's lubricant. The improvement to your posture alone will take pressure off your spine and tone your back muscles appropriately.
13. Relieve Menstrual Symptoms
Say goodbye to cramps! Belly dance will massage these muscles that are causing you pain.
14. Improve All Dancing!
Belly dance teaches you hip and torso isolations that aren't necessarily unique to just belly dance. These isolations are used in other dances, such as Salsa and Bachata, to add stylistic elements to your dance. So, in other words, belly dance makes you look great when you incorporate its movements in other forms of dance.
15. Integrate Right and Left Brain
Studies have shown that rhythmic movements work to integrate the right and left sides of the brain. Why is this important? When both sides of your brain are able to work together, we are able to learn better and function more intelligently.
16. Heal Anxieties and Traumas
Belly dance classes can help you to get past anxieties and traumas in your life. For one, going to a new environment and trying something new can help with social anxieties. Past that, belly dance opens up your chest. You have to hold yourself with confidence that you may not feel quite yet. This makes us open and vulnerable. Being so open and vulnerable in a safe space actually rewires our brains to help us get past traumas and anxieties.