Discover the fun to be had getting fit with an all-new workout inspired by classic swing dancing!
Move over Zumba, there’s a new dance and fitness craze sweeping the nation: SwingTrain. It’s a dance cardio workout inspired by the joyful, exuberant sounds of swing, rhythm and blues, and jazz. The class is fun, energetic and perfect at this time of year as it suits the party mood. ‘When days are short, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get out and keep fit,’ says Missie Frank, founder of dance fitness and yoga studio Off The Rails (offtherails.studio) where SwingTrain is a popular class.
‘This is where dance-based group classes really help. It’s like a night out with your friends but you’re keeping fit – and there’s no hangover!’ ‘We even introduce some Christmas-inspired swing and gospel music to some of the workouts,’ says SwingTrain founder Scott Cupit. ‘And, of course, learning some dance moves you can bust out at the office Christmas party is pretty cool as well.’ So what else can Swing Train give you? Read on to find out…
A toned body
Your calves will tone from all the hops and kicks, your hip flexors from the lunges, and your quads and glutes from such moves as the Squat Charleston. The class also incorporates crunches, high knee and twist moves for your abs and obliques. And your arms get a workout, too, with press-ups and bicep curls forming part of the routines.
Many of the steps will help to develop your core. The power in the moves is generated from the centre of your body as you create good posture and frame. As you dance, you have to keep your core engaged to maintain your balance.
While a SwingTrain class is suitable for most levels of fitness it will certainly make you sweat! There are a lot of kicks, so you’ll effectively feel as if you’re going for a run – many SwingTrain-ers have been known to clock up more than 5,000 steps in a single workout
A calorie burn
A typical SwingTrain session can burn up to 500 calories. The class works on your body in a similar fashion to interval training. You’ll start with a couple of warm-up tracks to get your heart going, then build up to medium and high intensity ones before the power track, which comes before a halfway break.
A brain workout
While learning the steps, you’re getting a good workout for your brain too. Dancing has been shown to be one of the best activities to help lower your risk of dementia, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
It’s brilliant for co-ordination because you’re learning steps and picking up new routines, often using all your limbs at once! ‘Week on week we see our students improve their footwork and pick up the steps,’ says instructor Jeff Tong. ‘A lot of our tracks are pacey and that requires good balance, so you can execute moves at speed.’