Super easy way to condition your body for dance while at work!

When you don’t do much physical activity during work or study, and then start belly dancing, you are at a bigger risk of injury than someone who is more physical. Worse yet, Dr. James Levine did research showing that for every hour you sit down, your life expectancy decreases by two hours! (Mercola, J., 2017)

Ouch!

Now that seems like a bit of a high estimate to me but never-the-less, it is clear that excessive sitting is  doing no favours to your body and by extension, your dance. Another study indicated ‘Sitting time was responsible for 3.8% of all-cause mortality (about 433,000 deaths/year) among those 54 countries’. (Rezende, L et al., 2016).

The majority of people these days have desk jobs or jobs that require a significant amount of sitting and a whole lot of belly dancers keep day jobs as well as their dancing. The fact you are dancing is more than likely helping you avoid many of the more serious issues faced by office work but what if making a few simple changes in your office job could help out your dance too?

It is reported that anything more than sitting for 3 hours per day is detrimental, however, sitting cross-legged (lotus position), squatting and standing are said to contribute to better outcomes. Outcomes such as weight loss, younger bodies and stronger joints for example. All common aspirations among belly dancers.

young happy student. over white background

Even sitting on the ground is said to be better than sitting in a chair.

According to author Kelly Starrett, starting off by swapping 20 minutes sitting for standing at work, will help condition your muscles and reduce injury for activities you do outside of work. YAY! Easy done. After a week or 2 you can increase it. If you want to read more about his suggestions, he has written a whole book about it called “Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World.” Which sounds like it would be very valuable for anyone doing a lot of desk work. I also thought his YouTube channel MobilityWOD looked pretty good as he has divided his videos into sections like Shoulder Pain, Exercises, and Stretches and Ankle Pain, Exercise, and Stretches.

So according to Dr Mercola (2017), stand up and … be younger and fitter and stronger. I was so impressed by what I read that I am seriously thinking about getting a sit-stand desk or maybe just doing more reading and researching on my iPad. I love that this simple change doesn’t involve some complicated routine or time out of my schedule, I just stand up whenever I can complete a task that way. It makes sense!

What do you think? If you have a desk job, will you try to stand up a bit more?

 

 

References

Mercola, J. (2017). Sitting Too Much Ages You by 8 Years. Retrieved from http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2017/02/03/too-much-sitting-makes-you-age-faster.aspx

Rezende, L et al. (2016). All-Cause Mortality Attributable to Sitting Time. American Journal of Preventive Medicine , Volume 51 , Issue 2 , 253 – 263

(This is post is not to be taken as medical advice. It is intended for discussion purposes only)

Breast implants – will they augment your dance career?

Chances are that when you think of belly dance you think of busty women in sparkly costumes. While any women, of any shape or size, can become a bellydancer, having an ample bosom can be a desirable quantity in booking gigs.

On the flip side, I know of some very successful dancers that are not slim, young or particularly busty. When making the decision to get implants for your career you must think realistically if it is simply a matter of breasts that is stopping your progression or fame. Maybe it is simply a matter of marketing or targeting the wrong geographical area.

You may be considering implants anyway and any possibly flow on benefits to your dance are just a bonus. This article is to outline some potential benefits, but mostly covers the very real risks that are rarely talked about and are particularly pertinent for dancers.

Busty belly dancer

This magnificent cleavage is all natural and not mine!

Take a good look at where you are wanting to perform and think about if implants are what is needed. Sometimes padding can be enough and their are many tricks that can increase the illusion of bustiness.

Ok, that being said, big breasts are a commodity in Middle Eastern shows. From my own travels, it seems a super slim, young physique with unnaturally large breasts seems to be popular in Turkey. Egypt seems to have more variety in body shapes of dancers but they all are busty. An excellent blog about body expectations of dancers throughout the middle east by dancers that live and work there can be found at kisses from kairo.

If teaching is likely to be your main income you may even find that if you surgically alter yourself you may get less students. 

Particularly for beginner classes.

I have noticed a trend that more ordinary looking teachers often pull more dance students than the glamorous and more accomplished ones (unless they are famous).

Why? On interviewing several students from different schools about this, they have said that the teacher made them feel like it was possible for them to become a dancer too. It was their imperfection that was the attraction because it made potential students feel that the dance was achievable and not solely in the domain of slim, young and gorgeous.

(I should also note here, that sometimes slim, young and gorgeous potential students have no idea that they are any of those things due poor self esteem).

 

 However for some jobs being busty can certainly help and if you are hoping for a professional career touring and dancing in the middle east, this asset can make a difference.

 

Make sure that it is the boobs you need though.

Book into an experienced dancer that has done the job you are aiming for and make sure that your dance technique is truly top notch. There is no point getting yourself cut up and paying the cash, only to find no one will hire you because your dancing stinks.

Also be realistic about your health, motivation and stamina. There are a lot of gorgeous, talented dancers out there that don’t make a liveable wage out of dancing.

Consider the finances

Add these together:

Loss of income through time off dancing: According to plastic surgeon Jed horowitz, Implants will take at least 3 weeks away from your practice and performing if you heal fast. It takes 6 weeks for 80% of the muscle to heal. However another plastic surgeon, Jason Wendel mentions pain and muscle spasms can last 6 months to a year.

3 (or 6) weeks pay ……………..

Costumes: replacement or alteration of your costumes. ………………

Cost of surgery and follow ups. ………………..

TOTAL ………………..

Now try and guess how much extra money you expect to earn in the next 10 years from having the surgery and minus the costs off that figure.

Do you actually come out in front financially? It is hard to put a price on the adventure and fun of dancing in foreign countries but find out a ball park figure of those doing the same thing you are intending on doing.

If you don’t come out financially ahead then you must become clear that you are not doing this for work but are doing it for your own reasons.  Which is OK too but now you know you are not doing it as a career move.

“If you absolutely must get implants, then according to breast implant expert Dr. Susan Kolb, the safest type is the saline implant that has a smooth surface and does not have a valve. “

If it does look like you will make more money then also consider the …

HIDDEN COSTS  

Cost of ongoing surgery to replace implants and lift. This happens approximately every 10 years to minimise leaking and maintain shape. This is true even of the implants that people are told last a lifetime. If you choose not to continue getting implants you still have to pay to have them removed.

Risks

Not dance impacting

*May also result in decreased sensation in the breast.

*Interference with breastfeeding.

“evidence has begun to accumulate that children born after a woman has had these devices implanted are likely to be in poor health…with lymphocyte sensitization indices about half the maternal levels, indicating an impaired immune system” Dr Susan Kolb (plastic surgeon) . If you intend on being a mummy dancer then having constantly sick kids is really big limitation apart from being heartbreaking.

*capsular contracture

A thick scar that normally forms around the implant, called a capsule, can become very hard and may result in pain and possible altered appearance of the breast. The chances that these problems will occur increase with the age of the implant. (see ‘hidden costs’)

Dance impacting

Short term

*Risks include bleeding, infection, reaction to anesthesia, or unexpected scarring.

*The implant itself can rupture and leak, or become displaced.

Yes, may of the risks are considered rare but they do happen as in the case of a Sydney girl whose lung collapsed last due to surgery or several others that went in cardiac arrest.

Long term

* Death.  That totally wrecks your dance career!

*A.S.I.A   “ Autoimmune / Inflammatory Syndrome induced by Adjuvants”

Auto immune diseases are growing more common among women. Having had such issues myself (from a different cause) I was horrified to discover that plastic surgery can cause immunity problems, especially since I know so many people that have had it done. This only effects a small number of surgery patients however the true numbers are not known as most surgeons don’t even know about this phenomena and the patients may not realise the cause of their suffering, as average onset of symptoms is 4.5yrs after the implants or injections. The truth is auto immune diseases will be a bigger problem for your career than lack of boobage. If you can’t get out of bed in the morning, you just can’t be a professional dancer. I do know of several dancers that maintain modest dance schools while dealing with autoimmune diseases but they are very limited energy wise and must pace themselves.

*Silicon based implants are more likely to cause problems it seems. Research seems inconclusive but there have been scientific papers published showing that those with implants have increased risk of brain and respiratory cancers and suicide. , systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s syndrome and  scleroderma. A 2015 paper reviewed studies from 1961 to 2014 and confirmed the 2-3 times increased suicide risk that breast implants are associated with. While other cosmetic fillers are also associated with complications such as joint pain and lung problems .

 

By writing this article I am in no way trying to shame anyone that has made the decision to go ahead and get implants. I am merely trying to highlight an element of risk that is rarely, if ever, spoken about when I hear women talking about cosmetic surgery. Some women are happy with their choices and have noticed no side effects at all. I write this because as a female that is regularly online, I am bombarded with ads telling me to have ‘surgery holidays’ or what government rebates I can get on cosmetic surgery. Advertising designed to make me feel bad about myself and offer up their product as a safe fix for all my apparent flaws. I am sure I am not the only one getting this material sent their way and dancers , needing to be aware of their appearance, are more likely to be impacted. Unlike when implants first became mainstream, we rarely get the side-effects and issues talked about in the media any more.

In all things, I believe women need to have the full details so they can make an informed and measured choice.  Whatever you choose dear reader, please take care of yourselves and know I love you all, busty or small, natural or augmented.

❤ Jade

Stay tuned for some future articles on how to look bustier (without surgery).

The top reasons why women don’t make class and the solutions!

In the southern hemisphere we are heading into winter and the urge to hibernate is becoming stronger. Winter is the traditional time that dance class numbers drop, not just for belly dance but for other styles like Ballet, Tap and Jazz. Unless your teacher has been clever enough to schedule a motivating hafla that you need to practice up for, chances are that your mind is starting to think up reasons for you not to go to dance class.
We all have different reasons that we come up with to avoid going out when its darker and colder – most are excuses. The truth is your body needs exercise whatever the season, you feel better, warmer, fitter and healthier. So, for an amusing post I thought I would address ‘the reasons I didn’t exercise last week’ that were posted by super blog ‘fox in flats’.

It was a cold day to dance in this picture but we threw on coats over our costumes and had a great time.

It was a cold day to dance in this picture but we threw on coats over our costumes and had a great time.

Confession Time: Reasons I didn’t exercise last week

From Fox in Flats (original reasons in bold, my answers in italics)

I haven’t shaved my legs.
Bellydance classes I have been to have people practicing in either tights or long skirts. So your body hair status is irrelevant.
The kids are driving me nuts, so a glass or two of wine tonight will be much more beneficial to my mental well-being than my boxing class.
Getting a little tipsy does not solve how annoying your kids are being. Getting out of the house to go to belly dance class and leaving the kids with their dad/ grandmother / babysitter does! Belly Dance is so much better than boxing anyway (not that I am bias at all!)
I’d just rather a glass of wine than a night-time trek to the gym.
Have the wine after a belly dance class, guilt free
I just want wine.
See above
I’ll take the kids to the movies instead of going swimming with them.
Ok, swimming with the kids can be a bit cold in winter, so how about you sign up for mother daughter dance classes! Its fun having your daughter with a common interest. If you have sons its still possible, some areas have male friendly classes too.
My kids need the time with me more.
See above

I need more time with my kids.

See above.  Enroll them in kids classes and share the joy of dance together.

Kids love to dance!

Kids love to dance!

Can’t find my ‘good’ gym pants.
No problem just tie on a coin belt and it makes even plain clothes look fab.
Episodes’ is on TV.
If you are big TV fan then I bet you own some kind of recording device. Now is the time to work out how to use it. Copy your favourite shows for days of the week that don’t have fun classes to attend.
I ate too much for breakfast.
Irrelevant , most classes are in the evenings anyway.
My skin feels too dry to go outside.
????? Seriously, stay hydrated, use moisturiser and get on with your life

Some of my favourite moisturisers are made by Weleda.


It’s more important I write something for Fox in Flats.
You work less efficiently when you are unwell and sluggish.
It’s more important I prepare a nutritious meal for my family.
This is always important whether you have a family or not, its a matter of a bit of planning ahead. Keep it simple, hot pumpkin soup can be prepared and cooked in 30mins flat and is a family favourite at my place.
It’s more important I read the Sunday paper (…this gets more and more imperative the later in the week it becomes).
Most of the papers are run by Rupert Murdoch and are barely worth the effort anyway.
I haven’t been to a class for ages and I won’t be able to keep up.
When I first started belly dancing I would get distressed if I wasn’t totally up to speed in each class too so I get this issue. If you know you can’t commit to regular classes, for whatever reason, then stay in a class that is of a lower level to avoid this feeling. Or better yet, allow yourself to make mistakes and just go with the flow. If you missed most of the term and the class was working on a choreography then let the teacher know that you are happy to follow along at the back and do what you can. It’s better than not doing anything. You will still improve.
What if that personal space invading chick with the flailing arms positions herself next to me in class …again?
Move to another part of the room! I nearly gave up classes altogether when a woman wearing red came into the class. The lady in red was all about looking at herself in the mirror, taking the teachers attention and making it all about her. Frankly I was challenged by her confidence and when she said she loved the class and would come every week, my heart sank. I didn’t want to go if she did. The thing is, she never came back and the shy girl at the back of the class pushed on and became a teacher (me). Don’t let others hold you back from life.
It’ll hurt.
Belly dancing doesn’t hurt
I’ve got a sore throat.
Have a drink of water, a throat lozenge and see how you feel in an hour. If you are still sick then take your vitamins and get an early night.
I’ve got my period.
Belly dancing helps with menstrual cramps.
My son has a cold.
Are you going to be able to cure his cold by staying home? Give him a hug, a honey lemon drink and leave him with his dad. You will have more energy to nurture your loved ones if you nurture yourself.

It’s cold.
Dancing gets you warmer, and exercise keeps your metabolism up for hours afterwards making you warmer even later on.

I’m feeling old.

306077_500692326637822_1334074081_n

The dancers in this picture range from 12 to in their 50’s. I have been in and taught classes with women much older than that too.

 Belly dance is for all ages

The blog post went on to mention what other women’s issues were and because I can’t help myself but be thorough, I decided to address those too …..

The top 10 excuses women make for not exercising:

1. No time. I’m balancing the kids, cooking, cleaning, making meals, a part-time job, my husband, and the odd social engagement. I’m struggling to find time to sleep, let alone go to the gym!”
I hear you! I think we all have dealt with something similar at some time. What I have learnt though is if I don’t make time for my self, the other things don’t happen as easily.

2. It’s boring.
Oh please! Army commandos should add Pilates Classes to their list of torture techniques, under the heading ‘Bore Them Into Submission.’
My biggest issue with regular exercise classes is the boredom factor. Dance is so much more fun. You exercise without even realising it and you are learning a great skill.
3. I’ve got the kids with me full-time.
I tried putting Bella into the crèche at the gym, but she cried the entire time and I had to leave the session part-way through.”
This one is tricky some kids are not happy to play while you get some me time. My own children were not the play happily types. After a few years it got easier and they could come and play while i took class. My own classes are single parent friendly in that I provide a room that opens on to the dance space where the kids can play, read or watch a vid. I leave the responsibility up to the parents to check upon them and to provide the food / entertainment for them but it means they miss far fewer classes knowing that their family is not a sentence to stay home. Getting a support network to help with your family is vitally important to your sanity. With my first child I tried to everything myself and felt guilty if I ever needed help. With my second i was more realistic and have put into place more backup to help me through.
4. I’m too embarrassed.
I’ve never lost my baby weight, and become even fatter. I’m too ashamed to walk into a gym.”
Belly dance is for all shapes and sizes – its one of its charms. You can have baby weight, or any type of weight. There are costumes that can make you feel like the goddess you are no matter what your size. ( and men there some hot things you can wear too)

5. I’ve got health problems.
I’ve had a bad back ever since I was pregnant, so it hurts to exercise.”
See a health professional to assess the nature of your back injury and take their advice.
Belly dance is one of the safer forms of exercise available. It often strengthens the muscles involved in childbirth. If your back pain is from slack abdominals not providing support then belly dance could well be part of the solution.

6. I feel guilty.
Taking that time out for myself just feels so selfish. The kids would end up missing out on something.”
You are a shitty mum when you don’t replenish yourself. It is not possible to give endlessly and not replenish yourself.

7. I don’t have the money.
We have less money since we had kids as I’m at home with them and not earning anything, so paying for classes is out of the question.”
There are a few ways to approach this. Ultimately nothing is going to be able to replace the experience and learning of having a face to face teacher. Its always best to start with a teacher so you at least get the basics correct, but learning from a DVD can be a fun alternative or adjunct. Say you can only afford one class but are really keen, you could buy a dvd and practice at home and even invite a friend along. This will work best if you set a time each week to do it.
The other possibility is approaching your teacher and seeing what arrangements can be made. Please keep in mind that most teachers spend a lot of time and often decades of practice into their skill and their experience is valuable BUT if you are genuinely keen and genuinely broke, some schools will come to an arrangement. Maybe they need flyers hung up through town regularly, the studio cleaned, costumes repaired, etc, etc. it takes a lot to run a dance studio, even a small one and there could be jobs needing to be done that fit in with your skills that can be swapped or used to discount classes.

8. It’s not safe.
I like walking, but don’t feel safe in certain areas, and especially not after dark. I’m probably just being paranoid but still, it freaks me out.”
Me too, it can be scary alone in some places. That’s why dance class with a bunch of friendly people is a far less daunting prospect.

9. I don’t have decent exercise clothes.
My trainers are worn out, and my gym pants are wearing through.”
A singlet, tights and a cheap coin belt can get you started. Some classes wear full skirts for class too. Check out op shops (second hand clothing shops) to pick one up cheaply or try your teacher or eBay for a cheap starter outfit.

10. I’m too tired.
I’m getting by on about 5 hours of fitful sleep a night because of baby feeds and toddler nightmares. I think I’d fall asleep during yoga.”
Sleep is important, don’t trade a good night sleep for anything. But if you wouldn’t normally be able to sleep when the class is on, then try and get along to it. There is nothing worse then feeling that you never get to do anything for yourself and having nothing to talk about or look forward to than sleepless nights with screaming kids. I have been there and it’s not a fun place.

Source of reasons from fox in flats

What are your top reasons for avoiding class?

Please comment below.

(Please excuse any extra typos or formatting errors. I am on the road at the moment and do not have access to all the features on wordpress)

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