Tag Archives: dancing

Move Like Jagger: 3 Dance-Inspired Exercises for Cardio & Strength


Betty Cunningham

Cardio Dance, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular endurance while simultaneously working multiple muscle groups and keeping your body and mind constantly challenged. Dancing improves your brainpower, your outlook and your overall fitness level.

The constant flow of mood-improving chemicals released in a dance class means that “getting your groove on” can elevate your mental state and slay depression. Dancing also gives the memory and coordination areas of the brain a real workout leading to stronger synapses and toned up grey matter.

Also, incorporated into Dance Fit and Zumba are plyometric exercises that train your body anaerobically, working the fast muscle twitch fibers and therefore improving muscular strength.  In my classes we work aerobically to improve cardio endurance and anaerobically to improve muscular strength. Plyometrics improve your bone density too!

You don’t have to be able to move like Jagger to reap the health benefits of dancing. The more time you spend on the dance floor, front row or back row, the more time you’re training your brain to send out those endorphins! So what are waiting for — let’s dance!

All of these exercises are generally incorporated into a cardio dance work out and can be performed as a group one after the other. Repeat the group for three sets of each exercise.

Exercise 1: Plié Heel Clicks

plie heel kicks

This exercise is a plyometric explosive movement that works the inner and outer thigh muscles, the quadriceps and glutes and of course sends your heart rate through the roof!

  • Starting Position: Stand with your feet spaced slightly wider than shoulder width with your toes pointing slightly outwards. Lower yourself into a sitting position. Your thighs should be as parallel to the floor as you can manage.
  • Push off the balls of your feet, jump and bring your heels together while airborne. 
  • Ending Position: Land softly on the balls of your feet lowering the heels to the ground

Complete 3 sets of 8.

Exercise 2: Standing Leg Lifts

standing leg lifts

Standing leg lifts work your inner thighs, (adductors), core and the supporting quadriceps. This exercise also strengthens and lengthens the hamstring.

  • Starting Position: Stand with one knee slightly bent and the other leg extended in front of you, pointing the toe. Rotate the toe slightly out and hold the extended leg at least two inches off the floor.
  • Slowly lift the leg to your maximum height and then lower the leg with control to the ground without letting the lifting leg touch the ground.
  • You can add small hand weights to engage the upper body.

Complete 8 lifts on the right leg and 8 lifts on the left leg. Repeat 3 times.

Exercise 3: Mini Ball Thigh Burner

miniball thigh burner

This exercise strengthens the quadriceps and engages the core and the glutes.

  • Starting Position: Place a miniball high between the inner thighs. Stand beside a bar or wall and place one hand on the bar/wall for support. Raise your heels as high as possible off the ground and stand on your toes with feet about 4 inches apart.
  • Slowly lower your body down, keeping the tailbone tucked under until your thighs are parallel to the gound. Slowly raise up to starting position and keep squeezing the ball.

Complete 3 sets of 8.

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Why We Should All Crank Some Tunes & Bust A Move

Bust a Move

“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest,
heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.”

Point to Ponder:
When was the last time you allowed yourself to let loose and dance without caring how you looked?

Action Item:
At least once this week, turn off the television in your house and turn on some fun, upbeat music. Notice how your mood and the vibe in your house changes!

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Surprisingly, this past year has been “the year of music” for me.  This was certainly not planned, but since September I’ve had the amazing opportunity to seen Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, John Mayer, and Chris Botti in concert.  And, one month month from now I get to attend the Chicago and REO Speedwagon concert! Even though I do enjoy music, this is extremely unusual for me.  I’m not fond of huge crowds, so going to a venue where there are thousands of people does not appeal to me — which is likely why I’ve only attended one ACL festival in the eighteen years I’ve lived in Austin.  But, I must say that my “year of music” has brought me unexpected and tremendous joy.  In fact, I think I’d go as far as saying that each of these concerts sets my soul on fire! It’s possible that this reaction was a result of me desperately needing and wanting a girls’ night out, and while I am sure that had a lot to do with it, there’s no doubt that it’s mainly the product of talented musicians sharing their passions, by which, I am inspired.

Music, as I’m sure we’ve all experienced, has a similar effect on us as smells do.  It can take you to a sad or happy time.  It can move you to tears, or cause you to dance.  In fact, when I finally ‘let go’ and stopped caring if I looked like a dork while I danced around at the concerts, the experiences were even more exhilarating. In fact, it was amazingly liberating!

The conclusion I’ve drawn is that music quickly takes me to my happy place and always causes me to dance, which I’ve decided I will no longer deny myself of.  Music and dancing transform the moods of me and my family in two seconds flat. All I have to do is turn off the t.v. and plug in the iPhone and the energy of the house changes. It is because of this that during our final week of July I am recommending and encouraging you to try turning off the discouraging and non-inspirational television or talk radio and turning on your iPhone, Pandora, etc.  Wherever you are spending significant time (car, office, bathroom, kitchen, living room), turn on some music and bust a few moves.  And while you’re at it, feel free to send us a video of your dancing!

If we’re all lucky, we’ll still be dancing at the age of the man in this video and looking this good!


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Start Where You Are

Happy October!!

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you START.
– Nido Qubein

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Per this week’s fabulous journal message  ‘Goals Schmoals, Just What Do You WANT?,’ have you ever WANTED to be so free that you dance without worrying what others think? Dancing, for sure, is one of the greatest expressions of freedom and joy, and this week’s video is a great example of doing what makes you happy (with confidence!), regardless of age.

Here’s to starting where we are… now!