Fitnessmania has gripped the nation. Call it the globalisation effect if you want, but the change in lifestyle has made people more aware about the kind of life they are leading, and the life they are supposed to live. Here again, gymming is now passé. Weight training, running on the treadmill and push-ups, are all considered boring now-a-days. Probably because of their monotonous routine, people are looking for something more exciting; something with the same energy levels, but much more interesting than gym sessions. Something that keeps them on their toes and keeps them going back for more, and most importantly, something which doesn’t make them crawl back into bed and hit the snooze button.

So it’s time to put on your dancing shoes and head out to the nearest gym for those dancing-cum-fitness classes. Yes, you can dance your way to fitness now. Fitness, itself, as a concept is still new to India. The past few years have witnessed a splurge of gyms and fitness centres across the country. But now the trend has gone even further, where it has all become about innovations in the same, which is why now, we have gyms running programmes like the salsa, jive or Bollywood dance classes.

That they have caught the fancy of the public is obvious from the fact that these classes are more crowded than the regular gym hours, which see fewer members on a daily basis. Not only that, these classes happens over the weekend, when it becomes easier for people to attend them. It’s not just the convenience factor involved that attracts people. “What really motivates me to go to these classes is the fact that every day I get to do something new. And that keeps the interest going as opposed to the gym”, says fitness freak Supriya Phadnis, who prefers dancing over regular gym work-outs.

Dancing has always been looked upon as an art form meant for trained dancers and film stars. Those who know dance and those who don’t, just watch. That was the unspoken rule. It was something one indulged in lightly at a friend’s or relative’s wedding. But Bollywood and the various reality dance shows have inspired people to try their hand (or leg) at dancing.

There are different types of dance forms that are used, like Salsa, Jive, belly dancing and plain old Bollywood moves. They not only increase your energy levels, but also help you tone your body, enhance flexibility and move the muscles that you did not know existed. In short, it’s everything that you do at a gym, minus the strenuous and mundane activities. Then there are institutes like the Shiamak Davar’s Institute of the Performing Arts, which conducts classes for people of different age groups.

Health benefits are not the only perks of dancing. It is also the excitement of learning something new which draws people to these classes, and the fact that they can just be themselves. “It doesn’t matter if you can’t match steps. The satisfaction is in knowing that you have done something new, something which you never thought you would dare to do”, smiles Dr. Prachi Dhonde, a dentist by profession, but an aspiring dancer on weekends.

These classes are also attended in groups, which ensure enough attendance. People interested in joining these classes, usually join in groups of three or more. “It’s much more fun as a group activity. So even if you make mistakes or find it difficult to do a particular step you can always take the help of your friend”, adds Supriya. It’s true, considering how gymmimg ends up becoming a solitary activity and therefore adds to the monotony.

The excitement levels in a dance class cannot find a match anywhere. High adrenaline levels, loud music, rhythm, and lots of smiling faces is what a dance-cum-fitness class offers you. And if you don’t want to join a class, just put on your favourite CD and move along to your favourite Bollywood beats and lose that extra flab. It may be a slower process than the regular gym work-outs, but it’s sure to make you a winner.

So what are you waiting for? Put on those dancing shoes and jive your way into fitness and a happy life.
Sneha Padiyath

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