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Dance Can Be an Effective Exercise in the Fight against Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is already a very serious and disturbing problem in the United States of America and many parts of Europe where obesity in general is increasing. The problem looks set to spread to other parts of the world as their standard of living improves. A diet with a high fat, sugar and salt intake and a sedentary lifestyle have all been major contributing factors in childhood obesity. As a result children are getting Type 2 diabetes and other illnesses usually associated with middle age. We have a generation of children who may well die before their parents.

It seems that the present generation is no longer keen on traditional competitive team games. Modern technology has led to children wanting to entertain themselves and to be personally in charge of the activity. Television and computer games loom large in their lives.

Overweight and obese children need to follow a strict weight loss regime and take increased exercise to help burn up the calories. The difficulty is that children who have a problem with their weight don't enjoy the changes in their eating habits and are unenthusiastic about exercise. Cajoling, bribery, and threats do not work. The trick is to find an activity which burns calories but is not necessarily immediately seen as exercise. It also needs to be interesting and fun. This is where dance comes into its' own as a calorie burning aerobic form of exercise.

Dance, partially due to television shows, is now the "in" way to exercise. Increasing numbers of people are using dance workouts as a way of exercising. You don't need to be a great dancer to enjoy the health benefits of dancing. The main purpose is to enjoy moving to music and music plays a large role in young peoples’ lives these days

Dancing can be a really good Mind-Body-Spirit workout. Physical activity in general keeps body and brain healthy by increasing the amounts of brain chemicals that encourage nerve cells to grow. Dance helps people of all ages and physical limitations to get and stay in shape. There is chair and wheelchair dancing for people (including children) who have mobility difficulties.

The benefits of dancing are the same as other low-impact weight bearing activities such as walking fast, cycling or aerobics. This form of exercise also strengthens bones and muscles without stressing the joints. It tones the whole body and improves posture and balance. There is an increase in stamina and flexibility and a reduction in stress and tension which are often a problem for overweight children.

There are numerous forms of dance which may appeal to children and which could help in the battle against childhood obesity

Hip Hop and Capoeira are two dance forms which children may find appealing. Capoeira is a Brazilian hybrid dance and martial art. Cardio Capoeira is very challenging indeed. An exercise session involves heavy sparring (i.e dancing) that can be done either solo or with a partner. It involves a lot of kicking, spinning and cartwheels. In this workout the buttocks, quadriceps and hamstrings are really exercised due to the multiple repetitions of a deep side-to-side lunge which links one capoeira movement to the next.

Cardio Salsa is a low-impact but high intensity workout combining precise, fast-paced Latin choreography - merengue, mambo, cha-cha, samba - with traditional aerobic dance steps (such as the grapevine), repeated lunges, and arm raises. The great advantage of this exercise programme is that what is learned can be practised on the dance floor. Knowing the steps and being able to move to complex rhythms is likely to increase self-confidence and poise.

Masala Bhangra, is a challenging workout, based on the traditional folk dance of India. It involves a choreographed series of hops; foot stomping and hip gyrations accompanied by hip-hop influenced bhangra music and live drumming. Most moves are performed while vigorously shaking the arms at 45 degree angles to the side of the body and doing multiple, rapid-fire shoulder raises. This form of dance workout results in firm arms and sculpted shoulders. The same sorts of classes are also known as Bhangra Aerobics.

Some states in the U.S are already using it as a regular part of their physical education curriculum. Dance Revolution offers exercise without children having to possess the skills demanded by sport and games. As a result it appeals to children across the board.
Well, Parents do take medical advice before putting your overweight child on a diet and exercise programme.

Ms. Nadel Paris is a dancer, recording artist, musician, music producer, songwriter, published author, actor, and a screenwriter.
Nadel Paris has been working with children in dance training. She proudly has allowed for children to become so good at their craft that the kids who sing, dance and act, or two out of the three, often perform as series regular actors on major shows on television.
To get more details about Ms. Nadel, please visit here:

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Tags: Art, Dancing, Nadel, Paris, Performing


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