Belly Dance for Exercise

BigJim

New member
Chirel.... I had to chuckle when I read that you started with Neena and Veena, that you are learning by yourself and that you weren't in very good shape when you started.... only because that's identical to the way I began.

I was in the 300 pound range when I started, flexibility was poor and couldn't really run because the extra weight caused knee pain.I tried a salsa music workout tape first but it didn't do much for me and then I fluked into Neena and Veena.

That was almost 8 years ago... and I've never been bored with using bellydance as my core activity... Along the way I've picked up about 50 dvd's and when I need a change I just work on a different one.

And I'm in alot better shape....Jim
 

chirel

New member
Chirel.... I had to chuckle when I read that you started with Neena and Veena, that you are learning by yourself and that you weren't in very good shape when you started.... only because that's identical to the way I began.
Nice to know that I'm not the only one :)
 

justforkix

New member
According to my point of view every activity in which over body moves will be exercise. Same in the of dance of any style Ballet, Hip Hop, high kick as we dance our body moves.
 

Kashmir

New member
According to my point of view every activity in which over body moves will be exercise. Same in the of dance of any style Ballet, Hip Hop, high kick as we dance our body moves.
Maybe the exact term is "effective exercise" - or "more exercise than walking to the kitchen".
 

Darshiva

Moderator
More exercise than walking to the kitchen might be true, but I'm getting a heck of a lot more exercise walking to my kitchen in Nhill than I did walking one end of the house to the other in Echuca.

I love my home studio, but I do miss that open-plan house & gas furnace.


As far as bellydance for exercise - it's like any form of movement - if you do it enough it will have an effect. Going to exercise classes once a week will probably make you feel better about yourself but won't help with the weight loss any more than going to dance class once a week will improve your dance skill without the home practice.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
I promote bellydance as a wonderful art form that is truly enjoyable, then I state that as a "side effect" it keeps me in shape. It has worked for me as both a toner and cardio all at once, and it's the most fun way to stay in shape, but to look at it as a workout? The word "workout" takes all of the beauty out of it for me as bellydancing has always represented something exotic, mysterious and beautiful.
 

atisheh

New member
It may be an old thread, but I think this is one of the "big questions" when it comes to bellydance.

I've often thought that the dance is not really great for weight loss -- there's just not that much moving around unless you're doing an intense workshop or rehearsal. But even a regular weekly class, when you subtract the time for stretching and explanations, is not going to be much of a calorie burner.

That said, I've found that dancing for me is a bit like yoga. Neither on their own will help me lose weight (at least not the kinds of yoga I do). But they change how I feel about my body, which helps me make better decisions at other times. And I'm simply more likely to do them than I am something like jogging (which I absolutely hate, as it makes me want to barf), going to the gym (also hate, and find it boring), and team sports (which would take more planning, and where I have no skill).
 

Darshiva

Moderator
I strongly disagree. Bellydance is like any other form of movement - if you do it once a week, nothing will change. If you practice frequently outside of class, hell yes the weight will start to move.

Also, I know this is just me and my class, but my students always complain at the end of class at how tired they are. If you're drilling like mad for 40 minutes, it adds up!
 

atisheh

New member
I strongly disagree. Bellydance is like any other form of movement - if you do it once a week, nothing will change. If you practice frequently outside of class, hell yes the weight will start to move.

Also, I know this is just me and my class, but my students always complain at the end of class at how tired they are. If you're drilling like mad for 40 minutes, it adds up!
To your first paragraph, that was my point. Most people just do it for once a week, and it's really not going to do much. Standard class length here in Berlin is 90 minutes. Do I feel it at the end? Yes, fatigue, muscular burn, all the good stuff. But even taking two classes a week doesn't actually make me lose any weight, though it does help tone my figure. It's just so, so easy to make up that calorie loss in one meal afterward. I strongly suspect that your students wouldn't lose any weight on your classes without also making other kinds of changes.

But if you're in a troupe and doing rehearsals, or if you're doing longer practices, workshops... yes, I think that's an exception.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
But what I was saying is that it's the same for exercise. Going to the gym once a week is just as effective as going to bellydance once a week. The only way to lose the weight is to move your butt or move food out of the way.

I'm not saying that my classes are extra demanding compared to your average bellydance class - they aren't. But the students who spend time working on their bellydance at home reap the rewards in terms of fitness and overall wellbeing as well as improving rapidly as dancers.
 

atisheh

New member
But what I was saying is that it's the same for exercise. Going to the gym once a week is just as effective as going to bellydance once a week. The only way to lose the weight is to move your butt or move food out of the way.

I'm not saying that my classes are extra demanding compared to your average bellydance class - they aren't. But the students who spend time working on their bellydance at home reap the rewards in terms of fitness and overall wellbeing as well as improving rapidly as dancers.
I'm honestly not sure we disagree that much -- in fact, I'm a little confused about whether your comment was directed towards mine. But you said you "strongly disagree," and it sounds to me like we've been writing much the same thing. A class a week is not going to do much, regular training probably will, if combined with watching food intake, etc.

I will say that if someone wanted to lose weight and was highly motivated to do whatever it took no matter how boring the activity might be, and was pressed for time, I would suggest gym over most of the bellydance classes I have taken.

One of my current classes is go-go-go the whole time. We are moving constantly, drilling, across the floor, practicing combos ad infinitum. I can't see why doing typical cardio would be better than this class. But every other regular class I've had, in three different countries, would just not be that great at cardio. Either there's time taken off for explanations, or the movements are not that intense, or, or, or. Coming out sweaty and tired is more the exception.

I think when people ask the question about losing weight, they typically don't mean, "If I bellydance an hour and a half each day at home alongside a class or three a week, will I lose weight?" Usually, they're wondering if they can do it instead of jogging or the gym, or if that one class a week will make any difference to their figure.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Sounds to me like you all are in perfect agreement.

I declare it a draw with all parties deserving a piece of the celebratory fudge cake. :D

(You can work it off later.)
 

Darshiva

Moderator
I think we might be after all.

Also, I've been enjoying this debate. I love seeing different opinions and - more importantly - finding out why one might have that opinion. It does a lot for the opening of minds and the growing of brains. :)
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I just noticed there is a little eye-rolling thingie on my post. That wasn't deliberate. My mouse pad is so damned sensitive that I'm always adding stuff and subtracting stuff without meaning to. I wish I could just turn the darn thing off and use my old fashioned mouse.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Sounds to me like you all are in perfect agreement.

I declare it a draw with all parties deserving a piece of the celebratory fudge cake. :D

(You can work it off later.)
CELEBRATORY FUDGE CAKE?!? :shok: THIS!!!! :D THISTHISTHISTHIS!!! And some of THAT!!! :D *moves cake IN the way!* :D

I'm such a kid when it comes to chocolate... >.>
 

Kashmir

New member
It takes a lot of exercise to lose weight - any type. There are studies coming in now which suggest you are better off doing a little exercise (5-10 minutes) every hour rather than sitting at a desk for long periods then doing a super workout at the end of the day. Of course that doesn't sell gym memberships.

So, if going to class encourages you to take a walk every hour and practice your shimmy or isolations in the bathroom mirror you may get quite a benefit.

Oh, and eat less crap.
 

shiradotnet

New member
A couple of comments...

You burn a lot more calories belly dancing, even if it's mellow moves, than you do sitting still on the couch watching television.

If you want to structure a belly dance fitness class for weight loss, there's always the option of using folkloric dances for part of the class. Certain debke steps and Turkish line dances, for example, are quite aerobic in nature, and we should be teaching our students some of the folkloric dances from the region anyway to round out their education. You burn a lot more calories doing debke than you do drilling figure 8's layered with shimmies.
 
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