Dance to Energize Your Body From the Inside Out

Ilyse Baker is a dance fitness guru and founder of Dancinerate. Ilyse works with men and women across the country to help them get fit and feel empowered through dance. For a list of current classes offered in Southern California and to register visit

Ever since I was a little girl with my hair slicked back in a tight bun and my ballet box in hand, I knew that dance would change my life. I mean – stop for a second and think about it… dancing isn’t just about the fancy footwork, the musicality or the workout, but rather it is about the blend of social communication, physical activity, mental inspiration, and emotional reprieve. Dance has a life of its own and has the power to change us from the inside out.

The benefits of dance are endless! Dancing can be the most fun form of exercise, but what most people don’t know is that it also has huge health benefits. As a mind and body workout, dancing can make your body and soul feel good in a way that no other exercise can. It can help you lose weight, strengthen and tone your body, increase stamina and flexibility, improve balance and posture, and boost confidence. The most important benefit of dance, and my favorite, is how it empowers nearly everyone, increasing energy and leaving you with a general positive outlook on life.

Emotional responses are very common in dance that would rarely occur in a traditional gym workout. The music, movement patterns and mental engagement involved in dance often evoke feelings that help you dig deep into your soul and release tension through movement. With dance, the music is incorporated and works in tandem with the exercise you are getting physically. This release of emotion inside of you helps you feel like you are on top of the world.

Dance is also mentally stimulating, requiring focus on coordination and learning movement patterns. A lot of people will read, listen to music, or watch TV to alleviate the boredom associated with exercising on most indoor equipment such as the treadmill or elliptical. Dance requires being mentally engaged with physical movement, a constant mind-body connection.

When people look for the latest workout craze that will help them lose weight the fastest, they forget the importance of finding a plan that will be an overall healthy lifestyle change. Yes, losing those unwanted pounds is important, but just as important is improving your mental state. Everything is connected when it comes to working out and living a healthy lifestyle.

In today’s fast-paced world, we sometimes don’t give ourselves permission to care for our mental and emotional well-being. The atmosphere of dancing creates one of the most effective stress relievers available and provides a helpful way to relax. It is proven that engaging in hobbies we enjoy can mentally and emotionally energize us.

  • Dancing gives us a break from the “norm” and provides a temporary escape from the pressures of the world around us.
  • Dancing builds confidence.
  • Dancing improves memory.
  • Dancing contributes to a mental outlook of renewed sense of creativity, motivation and emotional energy.

So…now, what do you think about dancing? Why don’t you take the leap and get up and DANCE?! I always tell my clients that dance is like brushing your teeth everyday…you don’t think twice about doing it…you brush them so just get out there and DANCE! Day after day you will walk out of the studio feeling energized from the inside out.

Here are some of my favorite Dance Tips that help my clients and I stay empowered, energized, and positive:

Dance Tip # 1: A smile is an expression of pleasure, happiness, or amusement. If you smile while you are dancing, people will get the feeling that you love what you are doing. Even if you are dancing alone, smile at yourself. You love to dance, so let it show!

Dance Tip # 2: If you are new to dance and feel a bit intimidated, please don’t. If you grasp 1-2 moves in your first dance class than that was a success! Keep at it, as practice makes perfect!

Dance Tip # 3: Keep dance in your life for a long time. Why? Dancing can play an important role in successful aging. It also helps to improve memory.


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