Flat stomachs, tone arms, nice, firm buttocks, and nice shapely legs. This sounds like a familiar dream for many women in the world. Most do not think it is possible for them to achieve, but clearly all it takes is time.
Aerobics dancing is one of the most effective aids in weight control, with the added benefits of improved self-esteem and confidence. Many people cannot enjoy life due to their weight and other problems brought on by being overweight. Those who are overweight cannot mentally handle the thought of going out and being seen. That is why solutions for keeping weight within an appropriate range for height, sex, and age are essential.
One of the most effective ways of reaching appropriate weight level is through aerobic dancing. Physical changes in one’s life can be beneficial, but that is not what makes a person. A person’s mental health makes one who she is. There are many ways to improve mental and physical health. Dancing burns as many calories as walking, swimming or riding a bicycle. A half-hour of dancing can burn between 200 and 400 calories. One factor that determines how many calories are expended is the distance traveled. In one study, researchers attached pedometers to square dancers and found that each person covered five miles in a single evening. (Dance for the Health of it) The physical changes that can be beneficial to one’s health weigh more than those of the mental state. Even so, it has been proven that the way one feels about ones’ self is better than how one actually is. The point I am trying to get at is self-esteem. Additionally self-esteem can really mold personality and can determine how a person’s life will end up. For many careers, individuals need to have a lot of self-esteem. Certain available jobs may hire depending on the applicant’s social status and how well he or she can associate with people. People who are not very social because of the fear that they will be made fun of, or are afraid because of their appearance, may allow their weight to interfere with future
Hernandez 2 opportunities. ” Because it makes you feel good, you like what you see on the outside and you like yourself more.” (Missett, 21) This tends to help individuals to stand
up and be confident enough to go through with public appearance and not care what other people are thinking.
When combining aerobic exercise and dance, it is considered an aerobic workout. Most of the time, after a workout, dancers feel energetic and ready to go on to other activities. Although there may be a sense of fatigue, dancers feel better about themselves. That is the feeling one gets when one thinks to himself “I feel like I have lost at least ten pounds.” In addition, that feeling is what helps to maintain mental health.
Exercise can and will change personal outlook, personal perceptions and this in turn affects other areas of life. Stress causes people to get agitated easily and to always be tense. Dance aerobics has been shown to help relieve stress and allow anyone to feel more relaxed. “Following a regular aerobics program gives you a sense of commitment and control – two positive mental attitudes that help counteract stress. Aerobics also relax tense muscles, thereby completing (and relieving) your body’s stress response. Finally, medical research has shown that regular aerobic activity increases the body’s production of endorphins (a natural sedative) and catecholamines (chemical substances that help stabilize moods).” (Aerobics for Health) Many times people are stressed about their weight, and this may cause depression. As Missett has stated in her book, The Jazzercise Workout Book, “Exercise has been proven more effective than antidepressants.” (21) She goes on to point out, “Stress can cause people to eat more than they should, causing more stress because they have realized how much more they have gained.” (19) She goes on to assert that “many stress related problems have occurred to many people due to lack of exercise” ( 24)
Hernandez 3 Admittedly, not everyone enjoys a workout, and probably many people cannot exercise the way they
would find enjoyment in dance. ” Aerobics makes exercise more pleasurable, and therefore people will stay with the program longer.” (Missett, 23) Many people look in the mirror and think about how to make themselves look and feel better. By toning the body, dance aerobics can certainly help to achieve this. The participant feels as if something has been accomplished, and this helps to raise confidence.
Writing in Dance Aerobics, Polley points out that those “who progressed from a least fit level achieved increased emotional stability, imagination, self assurance, besides self-sufficiency,” (12) creating a person who is poised and outgoing. The way people feel about themselves definitely affects their social life. Those who are more outgoing are the ones who tend to be invited more places, especially if they add to everyone else’s fun. People tend to look at them a different way. The person might notice that the opposite sex shows more interest. Not just if they lost weight; people show more interest in those that have a lot of confidence. It is a sad world, but some companies will not hire overweight or unfit people because of the risks these conditions may cause completing the job when it has to do with the safety of others. Especially if individuals let their weight interfere with their everyday activities, this will this happen.
” Exercise physiologists have found that exercise is a potent stimulus for changing the way the body looks, works, and feels.” (Missett, 84) “Your emotional well being improves when your body is running efficiently.” (Missett, 12) By planning an exercise program, that is what overweight or out of shape people can accomplish. They can improve not only their self-esteem but also the way their
body will run, even if they do not notice any physical changes. If no physical changes occur, they can still feel relieved that internally they are helping to improve their organs by working them harder than
they are used to working. This might help with future problems that may arise if they had not started to exercise.
Internal physical changes may outweigh mental changes, but being internally healthy is more important than physically healthy. Aerobics does many wonders to increase cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, flexibility, and muscle endurance. (Missett, 20) Because aerobics help control an individual’s weight loss, they also improve the heart and lower cholesterol. The reduction in cholesterol can help reduce the risk of a heart attack. Aerobics also increases the size of capillaries in muscles and reduces blood pressure. Because of the change in one’s heath, it will allow the person to be more active.
In 1996, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) prepared a document entitled Physical Activity and Health, which clearly states that regular physical activity offers substantial improvements in health and well being.
“Brain research literature indicates that there are important relationships between physical activity, brain development, and cognitive performance. From preschool through the elementary years, children need a variety of physical education activities which develop basic motor skills associated with human movement; such as maintaining balance with changes in body positions, walking, running, jumping, changing the speed of movement, and changing the direction of movement. It is particularly important that these motor skills be developed and continually reinforced before the age of 10 in order to develop and reinforce as many motor pathways as possible before synaptic downsizing occurs. Research indicates that from birth
Hernandez 5 to age 10, sensory and motor experiences play a significant role in stimulating synaptic connections between neurons, which guide brain development. At about age 10, the brain begins a period of prioritization. The strongest synapses are preserved. Research indicates that sensory and motor experiences play a prominent role in reinforcing and strengthening connections. Brain research clearly suggests the importance of physical education and its relationship to improved academic performance.” (Physical Activity and Health )
Because of everything that is beneficial to one who exercises using an aerobic dance method or any other, it is advised that some form be practiced. Aerobics will only help people and in the end, it will help an individual feel better and actually be healthier. There are some health risks to those that may be overweight, especially if they start out on a real intensive workout. People need to start out slowly and gradually get more intense so that they do not overexert themselves. It really is
just common sense. No one can run twelve miles the first time out because they are not in shape. This can and may cause exhaustion and cause a stroke caused from either heat or overexertion. “Generally speaking, the duration of aerobic exercise should expend no less than 20 minutes with sessions exceeding 30 minutes being ideal. During this time, the cardio-respiratory systems are forced to function above a resting level and at sub maximal levels. This is referred to as the Aerobic Threshold or Aerobic Range.” (Colgan, 95) Always said with every exercise, there are risks to exercising, and a doctor should be contacted to make sure the workout is right for that person who is interested in changing the outlook on his or her life. The doctor will take into consideration any medication that is being taken by the patient or any conditions that the patient might have that may cause further risks before advising any workout regimen. People should really start their aerobic
exercise at a pace that is comfortable with their beginning level of condition, and then gradually accelerate the tempo and frequency of their workouts as they adapt to their new lifestyle. In a short time, people will begin to recognize many health benefits that aerobics can do for them and feel great too. Works Cited
Aerobics for health Arnot Ogden Medical Center, 1997
Colgan, Michael Ph. D., Optimum Sports Nutrition, Chapter 9, Page 95.
Dance for the health of it! Mayo clinic health letter. January 1994
;http://members.aol.com/gerrychuck/dnc4hlth.htm ;. Last Updated: Sunday, June 23, 1996
Physical Activity and Health 1998 Baltimore County Public Schools
Polley, Maxine. Dance Aerobics
New York; Macmillan Publishing Company, 1981
Sheppard Missett, Judy. The Jazzercise Workout book
New York; Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1986