Belly Dancing provides a good cardio-vascular workout and helps increase both flexibility and strength, focusing on the torso or “core muscles”, although it also builds leg strength. The graceful hip drops, rolls, and pivots of this dance form utilize muscle groups in the abdomen, pelvis, trunk, spine, and neck, working with the body instead of against it.

When movements are done properly, belly dancing can help prevent lower back problems and counteract the almost constant compression of the disks that occurs from sitting and a sedentary lifestyle.

The movements also make an excellent prenatal exercise regimen that strengthens the muscles used during the childbirth process. The toned abdominal muscles and natural hip tucks, teach the expectant mother how to move her pelvis.

The repetitive movements of the dance and the concentration needed to do them can help a mind filled with daily stress to “let go” for a while and relax. It’s hard to worry about anything when you are thinking about getting that next drop just right, or while making sure that you are in time with the music.

For even better results, try combining belly dancing with another fitness routine on the days you don’t have a class. Your entire body will feel the benefits immediately.