Think of ballet and images of little girls in pink tutus spring to mind. But, with ballet’s raft of health benefits, even adults are now eager to get a piece of the action.
Whether you’re new to ballet or haven’t done a plié in years, there are plenty of compelling reasons to join one of the increasing numbers of adult ballet classes.
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Ballet works every muscle in your body, so if you’re looking for a top-to-toe exercise, you can’t get better than this. Ballet movements tone muscles (especially the glutes), improve core strength and boost flexibility. Certainly, if Pilates isn’t your thing, ballet makes for a viable alternative offering many similar health benefits.
Many adults have sedentary jobs or are slouched over a computer all day long. This can lead to poor posture as well as aches and pains in the back and neck. The beauty of attending regular ballet classes is that it helps to address these issues. By perfecting the ballet stance, you achieve better body posture and alignment. Studies have even demonstrated that ballet can play a useful role in combating osteoporosis, arthritis and scoliosis.
Boost co-ordination and balance
Since movements in ballet aren’t isolated, it’s a great form of exercise for anyone looking to hone their body co-ordination and balance. Research has shown that ballet improves stamina, especially for those moves that need to be held for prolonged periods of time. Many ballet enthusiasts also find that the improved balance and co-ordination they gain makes it easier to bend and lift during everyday activities.
If losing a few pounds is top of your agenda, ballet can assist with this aim. Ballet movements can be quite energetic and complex, whether you perform at a barre or move around to music, helping to tone your body and shed the fat. This can also improve your self-confidence and body image.
The full range of body movements from this low-impact activity will get your heart pumping when performed continuously and quickly. This is great news for anyone looking to boost their cardiovascular health.
Ballet is one of the best activities for strengthening the entire foot and ankles, since many moves require exerting weight on the toes and engaging all the foot muscles. Wigan Warriors’ rugby team took up ballet lessons, where players noted a stark improvement in their foot strength back on the pitch.
Improve brain function
Ballet stimulates the brain, boosting your ability to learn and memorise facts. Both the left and right side of the brain are used to memorise ballet movements and co-ordinate these to music. Studies have shown that activities that get the brain in gear can stave off dementia in later life.
There’s also a creative and arty element associated with ballet, where you can use movements to express how you feel, further stimulating a part of your brain.
Any form of exercise is a great tonic to relieve stress, but ballet is especially good as it combines movement with music – another stress buster. Since you’re also concentrating on co-ordinating moves to the music, it’s a mindful practice that keeps any other worries at bay.
Ballet doesn’t just benefit the body, it’s also good for your social well-being. Joining an adult ballet class is a handy way to meet new people, where you might also choose to attend ballet performances or other associated activities together.