Thanks to the YMCA of Greater New York for sponsoring this post.
Let’s get one thing out in the open right away — I cannot dance.
When I was young (6 maybe?), I took ballet and tap. For one year. My feet don’t quite cooperate when there’s choreography involved. In fact, it’s usually enough to keep me away from any type of choreographed group fitness class too. Even step classes back in the day made me really nervous.
When the YMCA suggested that I might like taking a Cize class – a cardio dance workout, I wanted to say no. I mean, look at this class! I have no rhythm and my body doesn’t move like that. I tried to come up with a lot of excuses for why I might not be able to go to class.
Cize is a choreographed dance program created by Shaun T., the creator of Insanity. They say that the class breaks down dance routine, step-by-step, so that anyone can dance. They say that you don’t need to know how to dance to have fun. Well, we were going to see about that.
I made my way to the Bronx YMCA on a Friday night, located in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx. It’s a really pretty location, right on the water and with generous open space (including an outdoor pool!).
When I walked into the studio, I was greeted by Darleny whose huge smile immediately helped me feel at ease. She walked around, greeted and chatted with regulars and warmly welcomed everyone. And when class started, she was all energy and motivation.
The choreography for the cardio dance workout was broken up into small sections. Darleny would walk us through the steps and we’d run through it a few times, eventually picking up the pace. Then, we’d add on the next section until we had the whole routine down. For once, I could pretend that I knew how to dance.
I liked that we learned the choreography in chunks. It was easier for my brain to process and remember the routine. Don’t get me wrong. It as still a big mental challenge to remember the moves and what came next! But there were a few moments when the whole class was in sync — our movement and the beat of the music and it was a pretty awesome feeling.
By the end of class, people were taking selfies with her – she’s clearly a superstar and someone who keeps people motivated and excited about moving and staying healthy. And, the Bronx YMCA offers family Cize classes on weekends so that kids can take part too. The best part? Darleny said that the kids regularly challenge the adults to a dance off at the end.
I walked into the class terrified and I walked out convinced that everyone should take a dance-inspired fitness class, regardless of your dance skill. Yes, you’ll get a physical workout but it’s much more.
Here are 3 benefits of a cardio dance workout.
1. To Laugh
I don’t think that I’ve ever laughed as much as I did during class. Just plain laugh. It’s good for the heart and the soul. While I was worried that I would look silly in class, no one cared and no one was paying attention. Everyone was just there to have fun and enjoy themselves. And sometimes, it’s good to laugh at yourself too.
2. To Work Your Mental Muscle
Oh my goodness, the amount of brainpower it took to learn the moves, remember the moves and then not trip over my feet? So much. But it’s important to work out mental muscles as much as our physical ones.
3. To Challenge New Muscle Groups
When was the last time that you experienced something completely new? If you’re not into cardio dance classes, zumba or anything like that, it’s definitely worth it to try it at least once. Yes you might feel silly but it’s a good way to change up your workouts. You’ll work different muscles and planes of motion than you do in your typical workouts, especially important if your primary form of working out is in a single plane of motion (Hello Runners!). Plus, you’ll strengthen your sense of proprioception.
Want to find a Cize or other cardio dance class? Check out your local YMCA!
Have you tried a cardio dance workout?
Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored partnership with the YMCA of Greater New York. Other posts in this series:
- Curious about the PiYo workout? Here’s what you need to know.
- 4 Benefits of Indoor Rowing Classes
- Adventures in Soca AFRO-bics
- How to Use Yoga Block Exercises to Increase Your Workout
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