Belly Dance Exercise Tips

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Belly dance exercising can help you lose weight, but only if done correctly. Get the basics on belly dance exercises with help from a professional belly dancer in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Belly Dancing
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Linda, and I'm here at Essy's Rug Gallery to talk to you about belly dancing exercising tips. Now, when you're doing belly dancing, as with any other exercise, it's really important for you to warm up and to cool down. Even if you're a younger person and even if you're used to doing a lot of other types of exercise, it's really important for you to give your body that smooth gentle wake up call. I like to go through some basic motions. For instance, sometimes I just open the feet, lift the arms and exhale out and down. You can also make this a little bit more effective by inhaling up, exhaling down and bending your knees a little bit. You can go a little bit deeper every time just depending on how much of a warm up you need in your legs. Especially with belly dancing, you're going to need to move the middle body a lot so opening up the lungs and the rib cage initially will help you throughout all of the rest of those movements. It's also really good for you go give a little bit of gentle motion to the back. So for instance, I arch the back just a little bit and then I contract the stomach muscles, pull in and arch the back the other way. It's not really so much of a stretch, it's more of just a gentle warm up on the back, great. And there are lots of other things that you can do for warm ups. I would look to your teacher, local classes so that you can find out the best things to warm up for the movements that you're going to tackle that day. Another thing you will need to think about with your exercises of any kind, but especially in belly dancing, stretching is half of your battle. Whenever you are looking to have a movement in your body, so let's say you're doing a hip move, when one side is contracting, the other side is stretching. So, if you're already stretched out in your hips then you're going to get a much larger motion. That also means that you're going to have more movement in the body which means a higher heart rate which means more calorie burning. So, stretching isn't just about making your body safe and warmed up, it's also about giving you a better workout overall. It's also going to help you to not feel so cramped up the next day and in belly dancing, you're going to start using some muscles you probably didn't even know that you had. So make sure that you follow all of the stretches that your teachers show you in class. My favorite one are stretches for the hips because those are really forgotten and not used very much in other types of exercise. So make sure your hips are really well stretched out. Some other useful tips when you're using belly dancing for exercise is to exercise and do your belly dancing before you eat in the morning. Now it's a tip that a lot of personal trainers give to people and it's really really useful. Whenever you're doing your exercise first and you create a cardio workout for yourself and then you eat after that, your body's metabolism changes a little bit and it makes your workout two to three times more effective than waiting until the evening. So if you want to practice in between classes during the week, try doing it right before breakfast. Just get up about 20 to 30 minutes a little bit earlier and get your belly dancing down. It will also make your day go a lot smoother because hey, you started it out with belly dancing. When you're doing your workout if you'd like to make sure that your heart rate stays up or if you want to make that heart rate a little bit higher, you can just get your arms up a little bit higher. Any time your arms are over your head, the blood and the heart have to push harder to do all of the circulation that they need to do which means that you're going to get a better cardio workout and it also helps tone all the muscles in your upper arms. Another thing you can do to make sure you're getting a great workout with your belly dancing is to make sure you're using movements and search out those movements that use multiple muscle groups. So for instance, I like to use chest lifts to get my heart rate going. When you start with chest lifts you have to go ahead and start with your basic posture in your hips which means that you're going to be pulling in the belly button towards the spine and engaging some core muscles as it is. When you lift the chest, you're opening up muscles that are in between your ribs, you're also engaging muscles in your back and also through your chest and with belly dancing, if you're doing a good job, your arms are going to be out to the side. So, a simple chest lift is actually a great core workout, a great workout in strengthening for your back as well as getting your heart pumping a little bit more. Just a very simple movement can turn into a really great workout. Another tip for your exercise may sound a little bit cheesy but it's actually really helpful. When you smile, when you're belly dancing, the endorphins in your body are triggered and you're actually going to get a little bit of a high when you're going through your workout. So rather than pushing through your workout with this strained look in your face, try smiling, opening your eyes and having some fun with it. You'd be surprised at how much longer you can do your workout and how much more effective it will really be. It also increases this feeling of wellbeing and it's going to make you really want to exercise a little bit more than usual then if you're just cringing through the whole thing. Over time, you might start getting a little bit tired of the belly dance moves that you have so make sure that you're going to belly dance classes every once in a while so that you can gain some new movements. Watching videos is another really nice way to sort of pad that knowledge that you have but in order to make sure you're really doing it right, you need to go and see an instructor that's trained that can tell you whether or not you're being successful and correct with the movements. Those are some tips for your belly dancing exercise and I hope that you find them useful. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about belly dancing, please visit my website, lindabellydance.com. Thanks.

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