Tango, Samba, Mambo, Merengue, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha….the exotic names immediately bring to mind the rhythmic romance of Latin dance. Who can resist swaying to the rhythm of such dances?
That addictive Latin beat, filled with melody and great energy, has sparked a whole fitness and exercise style based upon the dance steps of Latin America. It makes for the perfect workout routine: quick and pronounced body movements lead to improved cardiovascular function and the rapid burning of calories, while the rhythmic steps build muscle tissue along with balance and grace. The best part is that Latin fitness dance workouts are amazing fun, keeping you moving and loving every minute of it!
Traditional Latin dances are social – you need a partner on the dance floor. But a Latin fitness dance workout is a completely solo experience, though of course it’s most enjoyable when you are dancing with others who want to benefit from a great aerobic-exercise routine. But even though classes are great fun, it’s easy to learn the basic steps at home. There are CDs and video games on the market that will get your inspired and help you learn the preliminaries. That way, when you’ve got a chance to enroll in a class, you’ll be ready to go!
Here are two steps to get you started.
Begin by dressing in comfortable, light clothes, and be sure to wear sneakers or dance shoes that make it easy to move. Now put on some cool music with a rapid, strong beat. Stand with your feet together. On the first beat, step forward with your left foot as you lean into the movement, knees slightly bent. At the second beat, lean a little backward. At the third beat, move your left foot back to its original position. Stand in the starting position for the fourth beat. As the rhythm repeats, move backward with your right foot on the first beat as you lean slightly back. On the second beat, lean forward, and on the third beat, bring your right foot back next to your left, then rest in standing position on the fourth.
For the second pattern, start with feet together and knees slightly bent. On the first beat, step about 18 inches to the right with your right foot, bringing your left foot just behind the right on the second beat. Now take another step to the right with your right foot on the third beat. The left foot moves up parallel with the right on the fouth beat. As the rhythm repeats, do this movement in the opposite direction. The custom of clapping your hands every fourth beat adds to the fun.