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Why You REALLY Should Want a "Dancer's Body"

Ah, the "dancer body." The long, lean, perfect ideal that looks graceful, elegant and perfect even in the most unflattering leotard. A thousand barre classes promise to give you that look. Models and celebs swear by ballet-based workouts as the key to their bodies. So far, so fitness-trend-tastic But, there ARE plenty of reasons why dancers' physicality is worth aspiring to. And it has nothing to do with having to match a standardized image. Whether you are a ballerina, a runner, a yogi, a Zumba addict, a weights gal, you name it, here are three REAL reasons why a "dancer's body" isn't just an annoying scam phrase.

oriana lerner, mode fitness

Yes, 20+ years of ballet are good for more than this. That same skill set helped me power through Strong by Zumba, my first 10k and my first performance in two years. And, no, I will never resemble Natalie Portman.

1. You work your whole body. Any kind of dance works both large muscle groups--quads, hamstrings etc--and smaller stabilizer muscles. I always remember that when I haven't been dancing a lot and have to balance! It also challenges you to make it all happen at one time, again, something endurance cardio and isolation-based resistance training sometimes miss.

2. It's really physical education. Learning to feel where your body is in space is an invalable tool for performance and injury prevention. It will help you get the most out of technique-heavy classes like Pilates or yoga. It's also important if you're trying to dodge pits on the sidewalk when you run.

3. Dancing makes you smarter. You wouldn't always know it from me, but studies have proven that dancing boosts brainpower. It also combats depression and helps stave off dementia.

Take that, Black Swan!

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