Dance Movement for Flexibility and Function.

In the world of fitness and health there are so many different forms of workout that, whilst effective, can put people off starting. High intensity work outs, circuit classes, hours on the treadmill and lifting weights in a gym, are all useful but not for everyone.  This being said, we all know that exercise is important and one work out that a huge proportion of the population enjoy is dance. We have already seen this with the growth of dance-based classes such as Zumba. However, whilst these are again useful, they are not really focused on increasing flexibility or joint mobility.

As we go through life it is harder to keep our flexibility and joints moving through range. This is where incorporating dance-based moves into a non-impact work out really helps. Whether you are coming back from injury, looking to take your first steps at weight loss or trying to keep fit later in life, movement is key.

Ballet inspired workouts focus on both strength, and flexibility along with building stability in balance and an awareness of weight placement through the body. It helps build beautiful posture and a strong core, both of which will contribute to a healthy body in day to day life. A ballet barre workout is typically constructed of pilates, dance, yoga and functional muscle strengthening exercises. Workouts are a stimulating and enjoyable way to exercise both mind and body. Due to the low impact nature of the exercises, this workout can be tailored to suit varying levels of ability and ages.

A perfect example of the first barre exercise we begin with in classes is the plie. This exercise will mainly focus on the muscles and joints in the lower body. It is also perfect for finding our balance and posture at the beginning of the class.

  • Stand facing the barre with two hands gently placed on the barre in front of you, shoulder width apart.
  • Place your heels together so your feet are turned out and your weight is placed slightly forward through the balls of the feet.
  • With a feeling of lengthening through the top of the head and spine gently bend your knees so you are creating a diamond shape in between your legs.
  • Ensure that your heels stay firmly pressed into the ground and you squeeze your glutes and stomach muscles. Your pelvis should stay perfectly neutral here, no bottoms out!
  • With a feeling of resistance slowly straighten the legs aiming to squeeze the tops of the legs and bringing the inner thighs together.
  • This can be repeated within many different exercise combinations and in different positions. We then also add in arm movements to coordinate with the movements of the legs

Just this one simple movement can help to increase strength through the legs and improve mobility through the hip, knee and ankle joints. Not only that but this in turn will help to reduce the effects of osteoarthritis and help to maintain balance. If this is combined with other similar exercises, you can create a fun and unique work out that can be done in your own home and really improve your quality of life.

For those interested in learning more about this, Isobel will be leading The Thornbury Clinic’s next FREE seminar at Thornbury Leisure Centre. This will be an interactive session on Tuesday the 26th of November at 7pm entitled Dance Movement for Flexibility and Function. To book your FREE ticket and experience this style of workout, simply call the clinic on 01454 838366 or email on you can also book online by clicking this link