Geez, can you believe it’s June already!?
And it’s Monday, so that means it’s time for another weekly belly dancing challenge. Except…this week isn’t going to be about belly dance…
Occasionally, I will have challenges that go across all levels, and this week is one of them. Cross training is training in an activity that is NOT what you normally train in. So a soccer athlete might try skiing for a season. Cross training helps prevent repetitive strain injuries by using different sets of muscles than the original activity while still keeping the body moving and training. Many athletes will cross train in an activity that complements their original activity in order to build strength and/or flexibility that will help with both activities.
Beginners probably don’t (yet) have to worry about repetitive strain on their belly dancing muscles because they haven’t been working them as much (yet). However, cross training can be a benefit to all dancers, of all levels. So how can belly dancers cross train? Oh, there are lots of complimentary activities. Other dance forms, for starters. Ballet is a good one, not only because it works the muscles in different ways, but it is also becoming nearly mandatory for advanced dancers to learn. Hip hop might be a good choice for fusion dancers. Many, many, many dancers choose something that isn’t dance, like yoga or pilates, to increase their core strength and their flexibility. These are just suggestions; there are lots of different activities to choose from out there. But I will give this advice: make it something fun, and something you can stick to, or else it will do you no good.
Your challenge is to try cross training this week. Just don’t kill yourself by throwing everything into some new activity. Meet with a doctor or a fitness expert first, and see what they recommend, especially if you already have an injury. Lay off belly dancing (mostly) for this week and give something else a try. Then see how your body feels once you come back to belly dance. Of course, one week isn’t enough to really get the most benefit from cross training, but it’s a great place to start. Again, these challenges are a way to incorporate things into your dance that you might not normally try, not necessarily a suggestion on how you should train. Give it a try and see how you like it!
Happy dancing (er…or whatever it is you’ll be doing!!)