As an Exercise Physiologist, it is sometimes difficult for me to relate to people who do not enjoy physical activity. In my opinion, the desire to move is innate, but many people have lost touch with that inner drive. Many have forgotten how to gracefully inhabit their body and connect with the joy of movement.

I can relate on some levels to those who tend to avoid exercise. Traditional “cardio” machines are terribly monotonous. Exercising outside is often my favorite environment, but depending on the weather and traffic it can also be arduous. What if there was a way to make exercise more enjoyable, though? There is a method of movement that has been fascinating mankind for as long as we have existed. It is a beautiful combination of music, movement, and socialization. I’m talking about dancing!

Dancing is an excellent low-impact physical activity, suitable for any age, and even those with orthopedic concerns. It is a viable form of cardiovascular exercise, and it is easy to obtain your daily 30 minutes of exercise while dancing because time flies by on the dance floor. It is a low-pressure way to increase social connections. There is a style for all tastes, so it is up to you to find out what you enjoy most. Look at it as a learning adventure! Dancing will keep both your mind and body in tip-top shape.

If you live in a community like Galloway Ridge, it is easy to get started with dancing. The Duke Center for Living offers a monthly specialty dance class that explores a different style of dance each session. Recent classes taught Island dancing, Latin dancing, and African dancing. We also offer multiple Zumba® classes each week, the popular Latin-inspired dancing class.

The greater Pittsboro/Chapel Hill area also offers a variety of dancing options. There are swing dancing clubs, shag dancing clubs, ballroom studios, and salsa nights all over the Triangle. A quick Google search can lead you to the style and location you seek.

The most important thing to remember when dancing is to stay loose. Do not look at it as a chore in order to exercise more. Do not worry about whether others are looking at you. Keep an open mind and go with the flow of the event, you will be pleasantly surprised at just how much fun you can have.

By Jared Rogers
Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer
Duke Center For Living at Fearrington