(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) At 58 John Graham barely knew a thing or two about dance. If asked he'd confess that he was highly 'uncoordinated and wouldn't be able to match steps with the rhythm'.
But over the last couple of months Graham has been watching his dance moves closely in the full-length mirrors that adorn the wall at his gym. For a change he seems to be enjoying swinging his feet and swaying his hands caring little about coordination.
The high-on-energy Bollywood music that he has been grooving to could have had something to do with it but burning calories was the initial draw he claimed.
Graham and his wife both 'reluctant dancers' are among the many fitness enthusiasts who have taken a liking to what they describe as a 'fun cardio-workout' called the aerodance to stay healthy and on top of their game. It's like aerobics and yet not said Graham.
Involving a combination of free-style movements inspired from Jazz Zumba Salsa and Arabic dance forms among others the hour-long exercise regime which is performed to popular Bollywood tracks is drawing the attention of both the young and old who want to break away from the regular diet of cardio and aerobic routines.
'Working out on the treadmill and the cycle can get boring' said Smina al Mahrooqi who is in her 30s and a regular at the aerodance class for the last eight months.
Shedding her inhibitions about whether she was cut out for dance was the start. 'I have always wanted to dance but lacked the courage. But the energy levels in this class are so high you just get convinced that it's the best thing to keep you in shape' admitted Smina adding that 'learning new dance steps especially the Bollywood moves' was inviting enough.
'Dancing can be both liberating and de-stressing' said aerodance instructor and master choreographer Muhammad Aleem Khan who first introduced the class in Muscat at the Balance Health and Fitness Centre Qurm adding 'This is why aerodance works; it is basically a combination of aerobics and different dance styles set to music. But the choreography is intended to target core muscle groups. As trainers we know which muscles need to be worked upon to burn fat so we incorporate dance steps that will work on those particular muscles.'
According to Khan Bollywood music is best suited for the workout because it is freestyle just like the dance moves. 'It's also the most popular music across nationalities so though some students don't understand the lyrics they enjoy it nonetheless because they've definitely heard it before' he said.
Generally an aerodance class is around 45 minutes long but the one designed by Khan “ a certified trainer from Fitness Champion Malaysia who has also registered his aerodance choreography with the same organisation “ lasts for around an hour.
Each class begins with a ten-minute warm-up session 'in order to open all the muscles and joints in the body'. This is followed by a series of dance routines set to four to five minute-long music tracks. The intensity and pace of the pre-choreographed dance movements increases with each track.
'Halfway through the class when the body enters the burning zone we start the rigorous workout session which lasts for around 20 to 25 minutes.' This is the point where the body's capacity to burn calories is at its peak. 'If one dances with the same intensity without taking any breaks you can easily burn around 600 to 800 calories' Khan maintained. The last five minutes of the class are for the cool down wherein Khan incorporates proper stretches 'to relieve the body of any kind of muscle pain'. The routine increases the oxygen levels in the body which in turn helps burn calories faster the 37 year old instructor said.
What makes the aerodance workout holistic is that apart from weight loss it also helps shape and tone the muscles because of the 'combination of core exercises like jumping jack bicep and tricep moves open chest leg curls Les Mills' Sh'bam and ab workouts' that are fused into the dance format. 'The most important benefit is that it increases your stamina and improves your cardio endurance' said Khan.
Smina who takes the class thrice a week agrees. 'When I first started out exhaustion would get the better of me after a song or two. Now my stamina and energy levels have increased and I know that I can stick through the one-hour session without running short of breath.'
Graham who maintained that until now he had never found cardio routines this 'enjoyable' said that he leaves each class 'feeling like a million dollars'. 'That's what aerodance strives to do... to help you switch off and leave behind any stress when you come to class so that you lose yourself to the music and go crazy' said Khan adding 'The good part follows.'<