LA’s fun new fit­ness fad: Bol­ly­wood dance

First For Women - - Health -

Stars are singing the praises of Bol­ly­wood-style “Doonya Dance” to slim with­out the pain and bore­dom of tra­di­tional ex­er­cise. But is it re­ally pos­si­ble to twirl off the flab? FIRST health and well­ness colum­nist Jorge Cruise weighs in

Back in the ’60s, it was the Mashed Potato. A decade later, ev­ery­one was do­ing the Elec­tric Slide. Then Cot­ton-Eyed Joe hit the scene and we line-danced our way into the new cen­tury. And now a new craze is sweep­ing the na­tion with tele­vi­sion’s hottest morn­ing host rav­ing about how Bol­ly­wood dance helps her im­press on the dance floor and stay fit. The dance style blends tra­di­tional South Asian folk danc­ing with hip-hop moves (think “Jai Ho,” the over-thetop dance num­ber from the clos­ing cred­its of the 2008 hit film Slum­dog Mil­lion­aire), and fans like Kelly Ripa say the com­bi­na­tion pro­vides a full­body work­out that’s ac­tu­ally fun.

Typ­i­cal Bol­ly­wood dance classes are bro­ken up into seg­ments, con­sist­ing of learn­ing a cou­ple of dance moves at a slow pace be­fore putting them all to­gether in a short burst

of high-in­ten­sity move­ment. These in­ter­ludes keep heart rate revved to dou­ble calo­rie burn—ex­perts say it’s pos­si­ble to burn up to 800 calo­ries dur­ing an hour-long class. The pace changeup also al­lows dancers to get the study-proven ben­e­fits of high­in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing ses­sions— in­clud­ing melt­ing 3 times more belly fat, boost­ing short-term mem­ory by 25 per­cent and in­creas­ing en­ergy by 69 per­cent—with­out feel­ing like they’re ex­er­cis­ing.

Fit­ness buffs re­port that the dance moves also tar­get spe­cific mus­cle groups to pro­vide head-to-toe ton­ing. Hip-swivel­ing mo­tions iso­late deep­tis­sue ab­dom­i­nals that cinch in the waist, and shim­my­ing and twirling tone the glutes and thighs. And while most dance-based fit­ness classes don’t spend much time fo­cus­ing on the arms, fans say Bol­ly­wood-style dance is in­fused with fluid arm and shoul­der move­ments that help ban­ish bat wings.

De­spite the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits, some women say they’re re­luc­tant to try the fit­ness fad be­cause it looks too hard. But devo­tees note that the moves are de­cep­tively easy to fol­low. In fact, one of the hall­marks of the classes is a party-like at­mos­phere, where even women who con­sider them­selves un­co­or­di­nated can just let loose and have fun. This friendly am­bi­ence also amps up slim­ming: In a study in the Jour­nal of Ap­plied Sport Psy­chol­ogy, women who par­tic­i­pated in play­ful ex­er­cise lost 75 per­cent more fat and gained 200 per­cent more lean mus­cle over three months than those who did tra­di­tional work­outs.

Still, ex­perts say Bol­ly­wood-style dance isn’t for ev­ery­one. The classes are high-in­ten­sity and in­clude move­ments that can be hard on the joints. That’s why it’s im­por­tant to warm up be­fore class with stretches or light car­dio. Train­ers also ad­vise work­ing with an ex­pe­ri­enced dance in­struc­tor who can mon­i­tor for proper pos­ture and move­ments to help avoid in­jury and mus­cle stiff­ness.

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