My patients often ask me “What’s the best type of exercise for me?” There are lots of types to choose from:
1. Aerobic types like walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling, treadmill etc.
2. Strength and toning types like weight lifting, calisthenics, palliates
3. Flexibility types like stretching programs, palliates and yoga
4. Other types like Tai Chi Chuan, Aerobic dancing etc that may fall into more than one category
While there are pros and cons for every type of exercise, one principle stands out above all others when considering an exercise program. The one thing all these types of exercise have in common is that they will only work if we *do* them on a regular basis. So when figuring out what type of exercise is best for you, a good question to ask yourself is “What type of exercise would I be able and *want* to do on a regular basis for a long time?”. I find that, for someone to really stick to an exercise program long enough to get real benefit, it has to be *fun*.
One of my personal favorite types of exercise is dancing. Dancing is great exercise whether it’s ballroom, latin, hip-hop, folk or free form. Karen and I have been dancing for years, starting out with free form and, in the last three years, adding ballroom and latin. It’s something we can do together and combines some of our favorite music with good exercise and a *lot* of fun!
For a long time I kind of resisted the whole formal dancing idea because I thought I wouldn’t be able to learn it. My teen years were a bit socially deprived and I was kind of a klutz. When I finally decided to go for it, I was delighted to find that, with a good teacher, learning ballroom and latin dancing wasn’t hard at all. A good dance course will take you, literally, step-by-step, teaching very simple movements at first (think the basic “box” in waltz) slowly adding more complex (and fun) moves as you master each level. In very little time Karen and I found ourselves looking pretty darn good in a variety of dances like waltz, cha cha, rumba, swing and foxtrot. The best part has been that every step of the way has been a lot of fun…….so we kept it up!
Karen and I have had several great dance instructors. Out favorite instructor, Gunter Schluter, has started a “Meetup group” website. One of the things I like about this meetup site is that Gunter has made it a resource for every dance studio and dancing event in the Quad Cities, not just the ones he’s involved in. It’s really a one stop shopping site whether you’re looking for dance lessons, trying to find dances to go to or just where and when great dance bands are playing. It also includes non-ballroom events like square dances and folk dancing. If you’re interested, you can become a member of this meetup group by going to www.meetup.com/qcsoda
Gunter’s group, Quad Cities Social Dancing (QC SODA) is organizing a Winter Dance event on December 4. There will be raffles and door prizes. As a sponsor of QC SODA our office is participating in a scavenger hunt. So don’t be surprised if you notice some new faces dropping in to the office to answer questions about dancing or doing 20 seconds of their favorite dance steps (Truth or Dare) to win prize points for the Winter Dance.
It promises to be great fun!
So what’s the central point of my message today? The “perfect” exercise has to start with being perfect fun!