By Jayne Blanchard
Belly up to the ballet barre for a form of fitness that improves posture, builds strength and aids with balance and achieving an overall sense of poise and grace. A one-hour ballet class typically burns 400 calories — a few of these classes a week could result in a trimmer form and a lower number on the scale. A regular ballet exercise regimen helps develop lean, elongated muscles — and you get a good cardiovascular workout to boot.
Ballet targets every muscle in the body, from the booty to the fingers, according to a recent article in England’s «Daily Mail» newspaper. Ballet exercises engage and strengthen the all-important core muscles in the upper and lower back, as well as the inner and outer stomach. Ballet also provides resistance training similar to that of working with weights, in addition to enhancing coordination.
Ballet exercise classes concentrate on specific body parts, including the arms, abs, thighs, calves and buttocks, and uses small movements to tone muscles without building bulk. Expect to be challenged in a ballet class, especially in some of the deeper plie poses, which give an intense thigh workout. Although your idea of ballet may involve tutus and pink leotards, you can wear yoga pants and other athletic togs, but the clothes need to be somewhat form-fitting so you and the instructor can make sure you use proper form. Ballet shoes, however, are a requirement.
BALLET AND WEIGHT LOSS
Adult ballet exercises are a calorie-burning, low-impact workout that turns flab into lean and lengthened fat-fighting muscles. Particularly if you use a ballet barre in your workout, ballet exercises raise the metabolism, meaning your body will burn fat during and after the workout session. Weight loss may also be encouraged by the fact that ballet exercises simultaneously work the body in two ways — anaerobically, which builds lean muscle mass and strength, and aerobically, which works the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.