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Ballroom Dance: An Unlikely Recipe for Physical Rehabilitation
By Karen Goeller, CSCS
herniated discs, and post traumatic stress were just a few of the problems I
faced after an accident. I was devastated when I could no longer work. I was in
pain all of the time from the damage to my spine.
I began to write my Swing Set Fitness books I performed some of
the swing exercises and I was shocked at how much I was able to do. Swing Set
Fitness helped me with upper and lower body strength. I finally started to feel
still had to be careful in order to prevent more damage to my spine, but
I NEEDED to try this. It would be the first time I have attempted
movement in a non-controlled environment. All of my physical rehabilitation from
the accident was in controlled environments such as physical therapy offices or
my own home. I knew taking a ballroom dance class would be very risky because
the movements would be decided by my dance partner and my environment would not
be controlled. A bump from another couple or a fall could cause serious problems
to an already damaged body.
therapists should consider assigning ballroom dance to some of their patients
for low body coordination, balance, speed, and strength. The
reaching back with the foot for the backward step is a similar motion to a low
back kick (hip extension). As the female transfers her weight and propels her
body backwards, she performs quadriceps and hip flexor contractions. And
ballroom dance is sure to help people with posture. When a previously
active individual is at a plateau in physical rehabilitation, ballroom dance
just might be the best therapy.
An update... It's now July 2010 and I've been dancing since late September 2009. Not only am I feeling better, I am learning more and more each week. I have realized that the waltz is my favorite because of the graceful movements, the beautiful music, and it is gentle on my body. It is truly relaxing. My second favorite is a toss-up between the quickstep and tango. I really enjoy both equally. When I signed up for ballroom lessons, my original goal was to improve my low body coordination and balance.
Here's the good news... I was asked if I am interested in doing a showcase or competing. Wow, what a difference a few group classes and private lessons can make! I am still injured, the damage is permanent, but I have obviously progressed tremendously.
April 2012 Update... I am planning to compete in May.
May 2012 Update... I competed in the NYC Ball and I WON!!! I came in 1st place in waltz, tango, quickstep, and Viennese waltz. I came in 2nd place in foxtrot. I competed International Standard Silver Levels 1 and 2.
Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or to say hello...
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