August’s Question of the Month: What are your favorite cross-training activities?

written by Andalee on September 5, 2013 in Healthy for life and Question of the month with no comments
Belly Dance and Cross Training Activities

Photo courtesy of the CDC.

Everyone knows by now that I’ve been trying to get my fitness on for the past few weeks. August’s Question of the Month was inspired by my journey with the question: What are your favorite cross-training activities?

Some of us can get by with just belly dancing for health and vitality, while most of us need some sort of other physical activity to improve stamina, flexibility or heart health. Others of us have always participated in some type of regular physical activity and have just added belly dance to their repertoire. We all approach health and fitness in different ways, which means that we use cross-training in different ways as well.

While I am focusing on improving my fitness, I was curious about what kinds of physical activities other belly dancers do. Before I found belly dance, yoga and swimming were my preferred methods of physical activity. While I still sometimes practice yoga, it’s been awhile since I swam laps! I would love to get back into both at some point, but I have no time!

Other activities I enjoy are Zumba, walking/hiking (as long as it is not too boring), biking, strength training and stretching using Thera-Bands and foam rollers, and other forms of dance (ever try Afro-Fusion? It’s like Zumba on steroids!). I also sometimes let Jillian Michaels yell at me through her 30 Day Shred DVD (I actually prefer to mute it and put on hip hop). I have to be careful with some of these activities because I can easily overdo it and flare my body pain and migraines. But I enjoy doing a little bit of everything, and taking things in small doses can be loads of fun and good for my health, too!

Activities that I don’t do, that are currently on my fitness bucket list are Pilates, ballet class and hip hop dance class. Maybe one day I’ll have enough time to get to everything!

Now what do our readers have to say? I was impressed with the variety and creativity in the answers.

“Pilates! I find that it’s the type of exercise that has the most obvious direct application to belly dance technique. Plus, it’s always kind of relaxing even if it’s actually difficult and painful, so I find it easier to motivate myself to do it than stuff like circuit training. I’m also thinking of returning to regular swimming.” ~ Rasha Nour

“Belly Dancing 3 times a week in class ; yoga once a week in class ; Pilates and core training with ball.” ~ Salome

“Yoga for stamina and I’ve taken up “stair-running” – no equipment required except some stairs to run up and down. It’s easy, strength-building and only requires me to turn around and go up/down one more time (or as many as I want).” ~ Sharifa Asmar

“Pilates is number one! It has helped my technique, posture, body awareness, and fluidity of movement! I am trained in apparatus and do most of my workouts on the equipment, and fully utilize it for both stretch and strength. For cardiovascular training and endurance, I run regularly, and am just beginning to start cycling and swimming.” ~ Nahla Hamad

“Housework! No, wait, hear me out. Even just grocery shopping is a workout if you do it right. Every time you pick something up off a shelf at the store, put it down twice and lift it twice (total of three lifts) before putting it in your cart. Ditto for taking stuff out of the bag and putting it on your shelf at home. Laundry: Lift the dirty clothes basket three times. Lift the clean clothes basket three times. Do the bedroom-stairs-laundry room walk at least twice, carrying the laundry, before setting it down in its destination. And so on.” ~ Judith

“Running (currently training for a half-marathon!) and bodyweight strength training.” ~ Erica

“MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Conditioning and yoga.” ~ Raqs Razi

“I have been really bad about not doing much other exercises. However I try to do yoga a few times a week and have recently started participating in a water aerobics class.” ~ Marcie

“I like running, for stamina. I know that if I’m out of breath when I’m dancing, my form and stage presence will suffer.” ~ Samira

So what about you? How do you stay healthy and fit? What other exercises or dance forms do you do to help improve your belly dance or stay in shape? What exercises/activities are on your bucket list to try?

Now, for September’s Question of the Month: What is your favorite way to pamper yourself either before or after a belly dance show, class or workshop? Answer here.

About Andalee

Andalee is the founder of Belly Dance at Any Size. She is an Oriental dancer and instructor from Durham, NC, now based in Montpellier, France. She has been dancing since 2005 and teaching since 2008. Her mission is to promote Oriental Dance (a.k.a. belly dance) as a respected and valid performance art.