But if you thought it was just the belly that is in focus, think again. The exotic moves of belly dancing, aka Raqs Sharqui, can infact benefit most of the other parts of the body, too. This highly popular Middle-Eastern dance form utilizes muscles in the abdomen, pelvis, spine, neck, hands, shoulders and feet. The dance is based on movements that come naturally to the human body and not against it. Also, the combination of physical activity and meditation make it a holistic dance form.
While it improves the flexibility of the body, it also helps in reducing ones waist- hip ratio. This aids reduction of insulin resistance and chances of diabetes. Repeating the slow and rhythmic moves is also effective in conditions like hypertension and high cholesterol, says gynaecologist Dr Nandita Palshetkar.
Belly dancing is a great cardio vascular workout. It also helps in improving blood circulation,says Ritambhara Sahni . An intense hour of belly dancing can burn upto 300 calories. Combined with a sensible diet, it plays a valuable role in weight loss. If your class is just once or twice a week, combining it with an aerobic routine on the rest of the days will really make those pounds disappear. While aerobic exercises work out the large muscle groups in the body, belly dancing will enhance strength and coordination of the smaller muscle groups in the trunk, hips and arms
The movements of belly dancing help in strengthening muscles, especially those used during childbirth. Some of the gentle abdominal moves and hip tucks, are similar to those taught during prenatal classes and lay great emphasis on muscle control. Not only does this help facilitate natural childbirth, it also makes for an excellent post-natal exercise to help the new mother tone up her abdominal muscles. However, as the body is just about healing from the birth process, care must be taken to work the muscles, gradually and gently.
So go on ladies, move those hips, shake that belly and stay fighting fit.
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