So, sometimes you might want to do things other than ballroom dance. Shocking, right? So, here are some ideas for other fitness stuff you might consider. Some could benefit your dancing, some might just be fun random things to try out. Any and all could be good for general physical health, weight loss, mental health, having fun and relaxing. Doing the same physical activity over and over simply isn’t as much of a challenge anymore because your body wants to be lazy and adapts to it, so throwing in new activities can be really beneficial.
More Related to Ballroom Dancing:
Any other type of dance. Duh. Keep in mind, the technique is often quite different, so don’t let it interfere with your ballroom technique too much, but moving in different ways might inspire your ballroom dancing. Ballet, jazz, contemporary, and Broadway styles might be particularly useful for American Smooth dancers, to work on arm extensions, getting waltz and foxtrot character inspiration, and flexibility. Other styles to consider: hip-hop, belly dance, tap, Bollywood.
Zumba. Super popular nowadays, and can be pretty fun and high-energy. It claims to be based on Latin dances, but keep in mind this is a super loose interpretation – for example, their version of cha cha goes “1, 2, cha cha cha” rather than the normal counting, so you just have to kind of forget your normal technique and go with it. Can be good for cardio, some endurance, and just letting loose!
Yoga. I love yoga! It just suits my strengths – being fairly flexible, mostly. It’s great for developing/increasing flexibility, balance, some muscle strength, and also being more aware of your breathing, which can be important for dancing. Lots of different styles of yoga – vinayasa, hatha, power yoga, hot yoga (literally hot, in a heated room), relaxation, etc.
Aerial arts. I just tried this out briefly recently, but it seems fun and I have a couple of friends who are really into it. It’s sort of dancing/posing/acrobatics on various apparatuses while suspended in the air. The most commonly known variant is aerial silks (pieces of fabric hanging from the ceiling), but there’s also trapeze, hoop, and other stuff. Seems good for flexibility and very good for upper body strength. Related: Pole dancing. Big fitness trend lately and has some of the stripper-esque associations removed, at least a bit. (This video elicited a lot of “What the crap?!!!” and “What are you doing?” reactions from me, in a good way.)
Less Related to Ballroom But Still Fun:
Rock climbing! My campus has a climbing wall in one of the gyms and one of my former partners introduced me to it. I’ve been doing it on and off for the past few years. Good for strength (physical and mental), and surprisingly requires flexibility as well. You’d think it requires a ton of upper body strength, but it’s really more of a whole-body activity. Not for those who have fear of heights, obviously. Unless you want to try and conquer that fear; in that case, go for it!
Weightlifting. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think strength training is probably underrated among dancers. I like it waaaay more than cardio – it’s not boring and you get to see steady progress if you keep at it. And women especially should try it – I can assure you that you’re not going to get huge unless you take steroids or have really particular genetics. Go heavy! Don’t just use those little 1-to-5 lb colored “Barbie” weights. And I suppose skinny men should consider adding it to their fitness routines if they’re self-conscious about baring their chests in Latin/rhythm costumes. Ballroom dancing doesn’t really do a ton for your upper body strength, so this is a good way to work on it (if it’s something you want). Crossfit is an especially popular circuit-style training program nowadays that combines cardio and weightlifting.
Of course there are plenty of other countless possibilities: running (ew, personally), biking, hiking, basketball, bowling, swimming, gymnastics, rowing, martial arts, spinning, ice skating, skiing/snowboarding, tennis, Pilates. Find whatever floats your boat and have at it 🙂 Or just dance a lot; that’s fine too.