Dancing is one of the most enjoyable exercises you can do to be healthy and ecstatically happy while getting fit and losing weight! Dance is fun and exciting, and you’re always learning something new and interesting. All you need is your two feet and your favorite music. The best part is that there is no prior experience necessary! The more you dance and the longer you do it, the better it feels and the more skillful you become. Not only can dance workouts can burn up to 1,000 calories in one hour, but dance also builds stamina, strength, agility and flexibility. Dance also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, promotes a healthy immune system, and can even help you sleep better and reduce the symptoms of depression. Try it and see for yourself how good you feel after! Here are some simple and fun dance moves for everyone to try at home.
Let’s Mambo! One of my favorite dance moves from Cuba is the mambo! This Latin dance is fun and sexy, plus you get the added benefit of getting healthy and looking vibrant.
1. Basic Mambo Step: Toe Tap
Your Feet: With your feet hip-width distance apart, softly bend your knees and ankles. Transfer your center of gravity to one leg, and then tap your other foot to the front. Switch legs. Repeat and continue, alternating sides.
Your Arms: Reach the opposite arm of the foot that is tapping to the front, straight up to the sky. Then switch arms, repeat and continue.
TIP: Move those hips! The more you bend your knees, the more you can swing your hips from side to side. There are many variations to this step that you can add as you progress.
Benefits: Improves balance, stability, core strength and coordination.
2. Sexy Swivel
Your Feet: With every beat, turn both feet to the right with softly bent knees, your pelvis pointing in the direction of your feet. Quickly pick up your feet and transfer weight to the other side. Then, switch sides, repeat and continue.
Your Arms: Keep your shoulders square to the front of the room with arms relaxed and out to the side.
TIP: Be mindful to pick up your feet when changing directions so as not to twist.
Benefits: Increases spinal flexibility; strengthens core, legs, lower body and shoulders.
3. Sassy Show Kick
Your feet: With your feet hip-width distance apart, softly bend your knees and ankles. Step with your right foot, and then kick your left leg out to the side. Then, switch sides, repeat and continue.
Your Arms: Reach your arms out straight to the side at shoulder height and stabilize.
TIP: Keep your back straight and upright. Square your shoulders to the front of the room while your waist swivels from side to side.
Benefits: Works legs, arms and core.
4. Graceful Glide
Your Feet: Moving laterally from side to side, leading with your right foot. Take three quick steps to the right and then three more quick steps to your left. Repeat side to side and continue.
Your Arms: Swing your arms as a unit in a figure-eight motion. Starting on the right side, swing arms down, to the right, up, and then to the center. Switch to the other side, repeat and continue.
TIP: This is a quick step. Be light on your feet by engaging your core and back muscles.
Benefits: Builds stamina, endurance and coordination. Works outer and inner legs and calves.
5. Cute Bunny Hops
Your Feet: Feet positioned together, bend your knees and bunny hop in place 4 times.
Your Arms: Press your arms forward together at the same time as your jump.
TIP: If you have joint issues and cannot jump, bounce on the balls of your feet without leaving the floor.
Benefits: Improves agility and endurance; works thighs, glutes and calves.
After you’ve practiced these five isolated mambo moves on their own for one minute each, you can begin to integrate the moves into a simple dance sequence by combining the steps with one another in any order. As you get more comfortable with the steps and building the sequences, you can start to play with different tempos of music.
Happy mambo dancing!
About the Author
If you’d like to learn more and dance with me, we can practice together and I’ll walk you through more mambo steps as well as teach you the Brazilian samba in my new dance workout program called, Dance and Be Fit: Latin Steps on digital streaming service Acacia TV or my previous Dance and Be Fit workouts available for streaming and DVD, including Brazilian Body, Carnaval Workout, Lower Body Burn, and Abs Burn. www.kimberlymiguelmullen.com
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