Why All Moms Should Consider Adult Ballet
Author: Caitlin Evans
Ballet for kids? Sure. Ballet for mama? What?
If you, like many people today, are a bit more sedentary than you’d like (chasing around kids from 6 AM until bedtime may not be the form of exercise you envision), you may be looking for something new, inspiring and different. And it’s about more than a new class, physical activity is critical for our health. Being sedentary can expose us to various health threats, including slow metabolism, obesity, diabetes, heart conditions…
Now for the exciting part (especially because I, Shannon, love ballet, ;) )Ballet will not only help you activate the muscles you didn’t even know you have, but it will also help ease your back pain and other discomforts you may have. Everybody, not just moms, can get behind that!
Read on from guest blogger Caitlin Evans on why you should consider adult ballet as your new workout!
Ballet is purifying, every movement physically honed and essential, with no superfluity or excess. – Jennifer Homans
According to the World Health Organization, adults between 18 and 64 should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity throughout the week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Two or more days a week should be dedicated to muscle training.
While they are perfectly aware of the need to be active, many moms find it difficult to choose a sport or activity which will fulfill their fitness needs, while at the same time keeping them motivated and happy.
Have you ever considered adult ballet as your “weapon of choice”? After all, ballet is much more than just dancing, and it’s not just for your kids! Oscar Levant, the legendary pianist, conductor, and composer called it “the fairies’ baseball”, because it activates your body just like any other sport, while being gentle and beautiful.
The health benefits are all-inclusive
Some sports activate only particular muscles, leaving others in weaker shape. Ballet, on the other hand, engages every inch of your body in complicated movements, providing you with well-toned muscles and flexibility.
Ballet pushes the body to the limits while exercising strange and unique muscles in the human body, it and offers many benefits. Some of the key perks of the ballet regimen are improved flexibility and an enhanced sense of balance and poise. It also helps strengthen abdominal muscles and shrink waistlines and of course it builds extremely lean muscles!
Some athletes even practice ballet as an addition to their regular routines to improve their performance. Hershel Walker trained while he was playing for the Dallas Cowboys, and Walter Payton did the same while playing for the Chicago Bears!
Also, have you noticed how ballerinas always seem “aristocratic” even when they are not on stage? That is because they have the perfect posture. You can have that, too! The basic necessity for ballet is to stand in a neutral stance with the spine being straight and the hips parallel on both sides. Once you learn this at your ballet lessons you will carry it with you to your day-to-day activities and be as graceful as Audrey Hepburn.
Dancing for the brain
Any sport is good for the brain (as long as you are not getting hit in the head constantly), because it helps you release the stress and keeps your mind off of negative things. Most people choose yoga and meditation to get these results, but ballet just as any regular exercise can reduce cortisol, with the added perks of keeping you fit, happy, and flexible.
Also, in ballet, you have to use a lot of brain power to memorize the steps and coordinate different body parts. The left side of the brain gets its training with the logic of step combinations, while the right side is doing the heavy lifting with interpreting the music and expressing it through movements. Meanwhile, the lower part of the brain is remembering the steps and the upper rear portion is interpreting spatial relationships.
Finally, the music used for ballet lessons is usually very soothing and has a positive influence on the mind. Listening to it and moving along with it helps your body and mind express in a way words could never do.
The confidence-boosting properties of ballet
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to do a public performance (a speech, presentation, singing), and you just froze? This happens to many of us, and it is a sensation which is difficult to undo in your adult years. However, performing arts, such as ballet can help you slowly regain your confidence and stand tall regardless of the occasion.
With each day, each class, and each dance in front of your teacher, classmates, and mirror, the fear and insecurities will fade away, until they are nothing but a pale memory!
It will provide you with a whole new set of hobbies
Besides the possibility that dancing will become one of your favorite hobbies, it will open up many doors to you when it comes to artistic development. While learning the physical aspects of ballet, you will be able to see deeper into its beautiful traditions.
Maybe you will become interested in watching ballet performances or learning about the new and past performers. Perhaps, through ballet, you will discover your passion for music, and start exploring the composers through history.
Contrary to what you may think, it is not too late
We all have this idea of this picture perfect little seven-year-old girl in a tutu taking her first ballet lessons. That little girl could become a prima ballerina one day, but unless you are aiming for the lead role “Swan Lake” it is not too late for you!
Natalie Portman didn’t have any significant experience before she took on the role in “Black Swan”, but did you see how her body looked and how she moved? Wow! It is a lesson learned from her teacher, former NYBC ballerina Marry Helen, who also trained Miranda Kerr, Lily Aldrige, and Zoey Deschanel.
The key to achieving results is sticking with it regardless of not being able to perform a movement perfectly. Professional ballet dancers are persistently working on improving the basic, repetitive steps. It takes approximately one month for a student to begin to feel confident in executing a whole workout. Being more stable and having better control of daily movements are all the advancements that come income in about six weeks or more, depending on your previous fitness, and how persistent you are.
The artistry and athleticism of ballet are available to everyone, you just need to find a capable, patient, and willing teacher to guide you through each step. Eventually, you will be able to be more independent and flexible.
The bottom line
Starting a new sport as an adult is always a challenge, let alone being a busy mom. Tackling the subtle, yet forceful art of ballet could be even more complicated. However, the rewards outweigh the invested effort by a ton. Ballet is not only a well-rounded exercise which has a positive impact on both your body and mind, but it is also fun, fulfilling, emotional, and beautiful. If you are looking for a sport which will brighten your spirit, while keeping you fit, perhaps you should look no further than the “fairies’ baseball”.
Featured image source: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/cheerful-dancer-stretching-leg-barre_1906754.htm
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caitlin is a bookworm, photographer, and dancer. She is also a medical student in love with science. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health-related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu, and hiking. To see what Caitlin is up to next, check out her Twitter.