I was teaching at a leisure centre in South East London last week and I saw the poster above advertising a new fitness class.
If the above poster was a person, I suspect our conversation would have gone a little bit like this:
Fi: That class looked amazing – what is it?
Poster: It ain’t no dance class that’s for sure.
Fi: Well no, it certainly didn’t look like any dance class I’ve ever been to.
Poster: That’s right, because what we do is real exercise.
Fi: Goodness, you’re telling me I’ve been doing fake exercise all these years?
There’s a widely held notion within the fitness industry that dance classes are a somewhat toned down, softer version of the more traditionally accepted exercise methods. The slogan ‘this ain’t no dance class’ does nothing to quash that belief. Aside from the fact that the poster doesn’t tell me anything about what the class actually is, to belittle one class in a bid to advertise another is both ridiculous and mildly insulting.
In part, I can see why a person who has never tried a dance fitness class before might not take it seriously. The following things frequently happen in our classes:
1. We sing along (often loudly and out of tune) to the music we’re dancing to
2. We laugh. A lot.
3. We look as though we’re having a good time (see points 1. and 2. above)
My friend, Poster, came to watch one of our dance classes recently and looked on completely bewildered:
Poster: But you're all smiling? Laughing? In an exercise class?
Fi: That's right, because exercise can be fun and accessible and it doesn’t have to be brutal to be effective.
The health benefits we get from exercising work the same way whether you dance, cycle, swim or skip around the garden in your favourite pyjamas. What works for one person isn't always going to work for another but the important thing is that we are pro-exercise.
Find out what works for you and if you enjoy it, you're much more likely to stick to it, and if you stick to it, you're much more likely to stay happy and healthy for longer.
Just before Poster went off to do some ‘real’ exercise I told him he was welcome to join our classes anytime - I'm sure he'll find them a breeze.