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If you are looking for a way to burn some calories, have some fun and get close (literally) to a partner, try salsa dancing. Many communities offer opportunities for people of varying skills (from “I thought salsa was served with chips” to professional performers/competitors) and ages to learn and put their moves in to practice on a regular basis. A quick web search of  “salsa dancing” and my local area served up several options from dance studios, community centers and clubs to instructional and performance videos. And, if you want to be competitive, there are plenty of opportunities to do that at the amateur and professional levels. So, let’s get ready to salsa…(or dance of any kind, frankly)!

Not familiar with salsa and its specific benefits? Check out these websites for more information. They do a good job of listing a variety of health benefits, including references to some real research evidence.

Benefits of Latin” Dance by Nicole Peritore on Extension.org, America’s Research-based Learning Network Peritore starts by defining Latin dancing, which includes Salsa:

…There are two types of Latin dancing. The first type of Latin dance derives its name from the area from which it originates, Latin America. These dances tend to be a little more freestyle. The second type of Latin dance is referred to as International Latin and is seen in various social dancing classes, ballroom classes, and competitions. These Latin dances are the social dances such as Cha-Cha, Rumba, Samba, and Paso Doble….

She goes on to discuss several physical and mental benefits from social dancing in general and Latin dancing particularly, including:

  • Stress reduction
  • Increased blood flow, which brings more oxygen to the brain
  • Increased body awareness
  • Increased bone strength
  • Increased cardiovascular endurance
  • Lots of burned calories

Benefits of Salsa Dancing” on Step Into Salsa: online resources for beginning Salsa dancers This site cites Mayo Clinic and National Hearth, Lung and Blood Institute research and a few more reasons to get going on this (and other forms of dance):

  • Let’s be honest. Salsa dancing considerably opens up your pool of potential dating candidates. And you get to be up close-and-personal in the process of getting to know others.

  • Did someone say gym? I didn’t think so. Because that is the last thing you will need if you get serious about Salsa dancing. Your legs, arms, shoulders, hips, stomach and ankles are being exercised all at once for a complete body work.

  • Forget dating. Salsa is simply a great way to meet new friends, network and socialize.

  • Bored? Want to challenge yourself? Salsa dancing is a great way to learn a new skill, either alone or with a loved one.

image credit: Thinkstock.com

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