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Back to Belly Dance

Being an old millennial is weird. I still have acne, and I'm about to need bifocals. I'm still fit and at the low end of a healthy weight, but I have a new blerp of fat on my lower belly that's just my life now. My feet and my back and my hips are doing fine, but for how long? I have skeletal issues in all of those areas, and it's only by staying strong and supple that I avoid injuries and aches. For the sake of my overall health and my mood too, I've decided that now is a good time to get back into belly dance.

This art form is great for thin young people to show off their washboard abs, but it's also ideal for people of older ages and curvier body types, especially those of us with some jiggly bits to throw around. In belly dance, having a belly is an asset, not a problem to work off. Dance expert Dr. Valeria Lo Iacono gives solid reasons for loving belly dance as someone who only began learning it in her 30s.

I find that I'm usually more cheerful and energetic on days that I begin with shimmies--they just feel so good, even if I look ridiculous, which does not matter when I'm doing them by myself in the privacy of my own living room. In addition to taking real-life classes, I've found many trusty instructors online. My current go-to is Leilah Isaac, because not only does she have good technique but she also exudes a joyful energy that makes her tutorials and workouts sheer fun.

I don't need to wait for New Year's resolutions to restart my belly dance practice, because it's something I truly enjoy. I took some time off to try focusing on weights and strength training instead, which was also satisfying and good for me--and I really noticed how doing more linear exercises have made my joints tight and a little stiff as they've made my muscles stronger! Time to bring those hip circles back into the mix and shake it off.

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