by Margo Abdo O’Dell

Stuck at home? No time for dance class? Too tired? No money? If any of these ring true, there are daily activities you can employ to nudge you toward your dance and fitness goals.  

You might like one or more of these 10 ideas:

1) Build cardiovascular endurance by taking extra steps each day.  The more you move, the better.  Take yourself or the dog on longer walks, take the stairs instead of the elevator (it’s safer too), park further from the grocery store. Don’t sit longer than an hour at a time. You can positively affect your metabolism after only two minutes standing.

2) Stand while on the phone and strengthen your abdominals. Push abdominals out then in. Repeat. Then push upper area out and in, lower area out and in.  Repeat.  Finally, alternate upper out, lower out, upper in, lower in. Smooth together in a roll.

3) Strengthen and isolate your glutes by alternately squeezing each cheek while doing dishes, standing in line, even sitting.  One result will be sharper hip movements. Another is a more shapely backside.

4) Practice finger cymbal patterns by beating various rhythms on tables, desks, the steering wheel and in your head.  Any 4/4 rhythm on the radio will work.    

5) While watching TV (hopefully you’re not ingesting too much negative content) do neck stretches and head slides.  Keep your shoulders steady as you tilt your head from side to side and turn your head from left to right.

6) Put your dance music on while doing housework and practice your movements as you dust, vacuum and scrub. I can hear you laughing now!  You’ll become more familiar with your music and might even come up with interesting new steps and combinations. 

7) Instead of crossing your legs when sitting, roll up to the balls of your feet and back to the floor. Try one foot at a time, then point and flex each foot and circle your ankles.  Feel your two feet grounded to the floor. 

8) Stretch your pectorals in a doorway or corner. Put your hands at shoulder height against the wall and keep your body straight as you lean into the wall and then away. Chest opening exercises are necessary to counteract constant forward bending in daily life.

9) Heel raises on the floor or a step are great for the difficult to develop calf muscles.

10) Check your posture by looking in the mirror.  Experts say your ear, shoulder, hip and knee should all be aligned.  Practice good posture every chance you get. If you are a dance student of mine, you’ve heard this plenty!

I hope you found a couple tips that will be helpful. From a broader perspective of dance, my personal philosophy of wellbeing is paying attention to the 3 Ms:

          1)  How much you MOVE

          2)  What you put in your MOUTH

          3)  What you put in your MIND

Stay tuned …………………….

Author: LaDonna 'Adara Din' von Stoetzel

LaDonna 'Adara Din' von Stoetzel is an American belly dancer and member of Al-Bahira Middle Eastern Dance Theater.

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