Dancing for Fitness (and the Fun of it)

When I was young, my girlfriends and I danced all the time—in our living rooms, at slumber parties, school events,  wherever.  I can remember making up a dance to Three Dog Night’s “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog” for our sixth grade talent show with my friend Adriene Price, a trained ballet dancer.  I still can do all the moves, though the choruses showcased my particular talent—“free style.”  I recall that we got 2nd place, losing out to a unicycle routine.

Later, the movie Flashdance quickly became my new favorite, the third-highest grossing U.S. film of 1983, by the way, so I’m not the only one who loved it.  Its release kicked off a custom I still observe today: dancing for exercise—and for the sheer joy of it.

While my three oldest kids (all born within 4 years of each other) were in elementary school, I danced nearly every day for about 45 minutes straight.  My playlist included U2, AC/DC, Billy Idol, Talking Heads, Robert Plant, Janet Jackson…anything with a strong beat.  I can remember dancing wildly, like the yet -undiscovered “Alex” of Flashdance fame, though I’m sure most of my moves derived from 80’s aerobics routines and likely still do.  Loud helps, too.  My oldest son, now 30, recalls hearing NSX blasting from 3 houses down on his way home from school..  It was pure fun, so much that I didn’t even realize how hard I was working.  Which also remains true today.

My niece Jenny, also a dancer and way better than I, recommends these tunes to get you moving:”Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees; “Run Away Baby” by Bruno Mars; and “Too Close” by Alex Clare.

My current faves are Adele’s 21 album and the soundtrack from Burlesque.  During the slow tunes, I do pushups and situps, lift free weights, or use my 8-lb. medicine ball, hula hoop, sliders, and jumprope (artillery pictured here).  Combined with the aerobic dance numbers, it’s a full workout, sweaty and heart-pounding.

So whether you have a lot of rhythm or none, give dancing a try—and do it with abandon, like nobody’s watchin!  — keep moving, Jen Katt

Keep checking back here for updates as I write about what I know and what I continue to learn in pursuing a career as a personal trainer/fitness expert/nutrition advisor, mainly for fellow baby boomers?  My first “Certified Personal Trainer” workshop is coming up in November.  I’ll be sure and share highlights.

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