A Cup of Green

Fitness Friday: Bellydancing; sexy, exotic, & mysterious

Health benefits of Belly Dancing

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Bellydancing is sexy, exotic, and mysterious (how do they do that?!)  But did you ever think it could be a legitimate workout?  Bellydancing is a low-impact, full-body workout with emphasis on the core.  There is a rich tradition and culture behind bellydancing that will open your mind to learning new things while working your body in a fun way.  Take your friends to a class or invite them over for a Bellydance DVD party, with a potluck of your favorite Middle Eastern food/drinks to follow.

Bellydancing History:

Many experts say belly dancing is the oldest form of dance, having roots in all ancient cultures from the orient to India to the mid-East.  Bellydance derives from a traditional Middle Eastern named: Raqs sharqi (Arabic: رقص شرقي‎) or  Çiftetelli (Greek: τσιφτετέλι).  Belly Dancing varies in terms of clothing and dance style depending on the country of origin.

Photo Source:
Arabian Bellydancer  (Photo Source:


Workout Benefits:

Relive back and joints pains

During the dance, the movements of hip drops, circles, figure eights, and shimmies put the joints and ligaments in the lower back and hip through a full range of gentle, repetitive motion. This movement helps increase the flow of synovial fluid (nature’s lubricant) in these joints. When movements are done properly, the pelvis is tipped forward in a neutral position that can help prevent lower back problems. BellyDancing can help relieve stress to the back and counteract the constant compression of the disks

Increases bone density:

It is considered a “weight-bearing” exercise since you stand on your feet the entire time.  Weight-bearing exercises have been proven to strengthen bones and decrease the chances of osteoporosis.

Aids in weightloss:

Burn an average of 300 calories per Bellydancing class!

Helps prepare for childbirth:

Belly Dancing makes an excellent prenatal exercise regimen because it strengthens the muscles that are used during the childbirth process. The toned abdominal muscles and natural hip tucks are similar to the “pelvic rocking” taught during prenatal classes and teach the expectant mother how to move her pelvis.

Lowers stress:

The repetitive swaying, circular and flowing movements can be considered a form of dance-meditation.

Increases self-esteem:

The movements are creative and expressive which allows you to let go and enjoy yourself and the exercise for what it is without judgments of yourself or others.

Help relieve PMS:

The rolling hips and figure eight movements increase circulation to the pelvic area and can relax and alleviate pain or stress in the pelvic area.

What to wear

Wear comfortable clothes that are easy to move in like yoga pants, capris, or spandex shorts.  Most studios have hip scarves that you can use to accessories and add some personality to your bellydance workout.

Start Dancing

Use this website to find a registered Bellydancing class near you.

Here are some great at-home options to practice your belly dancing moves:

DVDs for sale

Instructional YouTube video

And with a little (okay, maybe a lot of practice), you’ll have moves like this!

India’s Got Talent

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