The New York City Ballet exercise regimen combines basic dance movements with stretching to help improve flexibility, endurance and posture. A daily ballet workout also helps to strengthen your legs, shoulders, back, abdominal area and buttocks.
In his book “New York City Ballet Workout: Fifty Stretches And Exercises Anyone Can Do For A Strong, Graceful and Sculpted Body,” ballet master Peter Martins defines it as “bodysculpting” as opposed to bodybuilding -- the goal is not to increase muscle bulk, but to work your muscles to their fullest capacity without them showing.
Ballet-based exercise programs are often defined as “brain-body” workouts because they require you to pay attention to form and focus on your body completely. By being fully in tune with your body, you can prevent movement-related injuries; chronic conditions such as obesity and heart disease; and stress-related problems, such as anxiety and depression.
There are several factors to consider if you choose a ballet-focused regimen as part of a weight-loss routine, including the basal metabolic rate or the amount of calories that you burn at rest, which is higher in men because they have greater amounts of lean muscle mass. Your daily food intake and digestion as well as an under- or overactive thyroid, and some medications also affect metabolism.
According to “365 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism: Everyday Tips to Achieve Your Maximum Fat-Burning Potential,” ballet-based stretching routines on average burn about 150 calories per hour. In comparison, country line dance burns about 125 calories; ballroom dancing, around 150 calories; salsa, roughly 170 calories; and disco-based regimens burn approximately 175 calories.
You can accelerate the number of calories you burn by choosing high-impact or aerobic-style ballet exercises.
A comparative chart for various fitness activities published by the Harvard Heart Letter found that during one hour of high-impact ballet exercising, a person weighing approximately 125 pounds burns about 360 calories; an individual weighing roughly 155 pounds, 446 calories; and someone who weighs around 185 pounds, 370 calories.
Always precede your workout with a warmup to ensure there is sufficient blood flow to the muscles. To avoid joint injuries, keep the knees positioned over your toes; and if one of the movements involves a jump, always land with your knees bent.
If you do feel pain during any of the movements, stop exercising immediately, as this may indicate you are stressing the internal structure of a joint.
Lastly, base your cool-down on less-intense ballet movements similar to the ones you did during the workout or by walking at a steady pace until you are sure your heart rate is normal.
- 365 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism: Everyday Tips to Achieve Your Maximum Fat-Burning Potential; Rachel Laferriere
- The Dancer's Way: The New York City Ballet Guide to Mind, Body, and Nutrition; Linda H. Hamilton
- Experiencing Dance: From Student to Dance Artist; Helene Scheff et al.
- The BalleCore Workout: Integrating Pilates, Hatha Yoga, and Ballet in an Innovative Exercise Routine for All Fitness Levels; Molly Weeks
- New York City Ballet Workout: Fifty Stretches And Exercises Anyone Can Do For A Strong, Graceful and Sculpted Body; Peter Martins
- The Harvard Heart Letter
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