By AMANDA JAMES
Dance can be a way to show off new moves or a new outfit.
Dance may even help a shy guy or girl attract some wanted attention from the
opposite sex. But many people may not realize dance is healthy for the body.
“[Dance] classes really develop all the components of
fitness, which are body composition, muscle strength and endurance, flexibility
and cardiorespiratory fitness,” Dr. Wendy Miletello, an assistant professor of health and exercise
sciences, said. “There are four components of fitness, [but] many people think
that there is only one.”
The first component of fitness is cardiorespiratory
Miletello said the main
emphasis of cardiorespiratory fitness is getting the
heart in shape, and dance classes increase cardiorespiratory
“Cardiorespiratory fitness [is]
the heart’s functional capacity or ability to deliver oxygen to the exercising
muscles,” she said. “[Cardiorespiratory fitness] is
related to the development of heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes.
Increased cardiorespiratory fitness means a decrease
in risk of the development of heart disease.”
The second component is muscle strength and endurance.
Carrying body weight on the lower extremities during
dance leads to muscular development, she said.
“Muscle strength and endurance [is] the muscles’ level of
strength and endurance [and] is related to a person’s ability to do activities
of daily living without fatigue,” Miletello said.
A low level of this means a person may become tired during daily chores
and activities, she said.
The third component of fitness is flexibility.
Light to deep stretching takes place during warm-ups and
cool-downs in dance classes.
Flexibility is the level of stretching that can be done
in the lower back and hamstrings. A low level of flexibility is related to
lower back pain,” Miletello said. “Increased
flexibility means a reduced risk of development of lower back pain.”
The fourth component of fitness is body composition.
Body fat, a part of body composition, can be reduced
through dance, she said.
“A healthy body composition is vital for wellness
throughout life,” Miletello said. “Unhealthy body fat
levels are related to hypertension, impaired immune function, heart disease,
back pain and arthritis.”
Andrea Newby, a graduate student of theatre, said she is
enrolled in a dance class, and dancing has helped her maintain a regular
“Before school started, I would work out four times a
week at Curves,” Newby said. “Now, I don’t have time with class, but dance has
helped keep me active and counterbalanced anything like weight gain. And now
I’m more aware of my body and how it moves.”
Katie Stephenson, a junior English major, said she has
been interested in taking a dance class at Tech.
“I really wanted to take one last quarter, but I couldn’t
fit it into my schedule,” Stephenson said. “It seems like it would be a lot of
fun and a good break from the stress of more demanding classes.”