Karen Gadke dancing -1
By Karen Gadke
Guest Contributor
BOONE COUNTY – The above words were spoken decades ago by Kathryn Murray, wife of Arthur Murray, founder of the famous Arthur Murray Dance Studio.
I call dancing exercise without the sweat, miles of fun but you don’t have to run. Sounds too good to be true? But it is true, and this magic activity is called ballroom dancing.
If you want an exhilarating workout instead of one you hate, dancing can provide it. And it’s for everyone, from teens to seniors.
For years, no pain no gain has been the fitness buzzword. But when you dance, you choose a joyful workout over a painful one. In other words, why sweat when you can swing? So, if the swing part appeals to you, then ballroom dancing is for you.
Please, don’t be intimidated by the word ballroom. It includes a great variety of dances, including some you may have learned years ago, i.e., foxtrot, rumba, tango, and of course, what baby boomer did not learn the good old jitterbug?
The basic steps of all of these are easy, and you can either enjoy those steps over and over for years, or you can learn more advanced steps. There are several dance studios in the Stateline area, and some private teachers too. They are all eager to help you with the steps you want to learn.
If you don’t have the desire to learn advanced steps, you can still get your heart rate up and have lots and lots of fun doing the easy ones – a good workout and a good time. It’s a win-win situation, and something to enjoy with your partner.
If you are single, you are still welcome at any dance, or you can attend singles dances, make new friends and find like-minded dancing partners. It’s the greatest togetherness workout you can engage in.
Dancing can rejuvenate a person or a relationship. As told in the book, Keep the Flame Alive, How to Help Your Marriage Survive and Thrive, by Karen Gadke, Ph.D.
In the book, Rhonda and Allan had an average marriage. Their children were off to college and the nest was empty. Life went like this: church on most Sundays, occasional dinners out, or a movie.
For the most part, their lives centered on their jobs and television.
Booooooooring. Right?
Rhonda, long dissatisfied with the lack of excitement in their marriage and looking for a way to get out of the rut, became excited when a dance group formed in their town. After much “arm-twisting,” Alan agreed to go to one of their dances.
The couple refreshed some dance steps they had learned decades ago, and soon added new ones. Now they could hardly wait for Saturday night to come around, so they could go dancing.
The closeness of dancing and increased bonding became a wonderful new focus in the lives of this couple. They always had something to look forward to.
This is a modern day story that repeats itself every time a couple discovers that dancing can draw them closer. The ultimate togetherness workout – moving in physical harmony brings about emotional harmony.
And one more benefit to boot.
Instead of sitting around on Saturday nights watching TV and nibbling on potato chips or cookies, you move your feet and forget about food. You counteract stresses built up during the week while stimulating your endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). Stress melts away, and food is the last thing on your mind.
Karen Gadke dancing 2If you are one of the millions of people fighting the mid-life battle of the bulges, dancing confers a double benefit. You remain trim while having fun and getting an aerobic workout to benefit your heart.
But wait, there’s more.
Many of us worry about progressive memory loss as we age. And neuroscientists tell us that there is much we can do to slow down this progression, namely exercising our brains by learning new skills. The old saying definitely applies: If you don’t use it, you lose it.
There are many ways to do this, i.e., reading a lot, especially books, but the best method to exercise the brain is to keep learning new things. And, learning new dance steps, having to commit the steps and the sequences to both muscle memory and brain memory is one of the most effective and enjoyable brain boosters.
So what are you waiting for? Dance into spring. Come to the first community dance held by the animal welfare group Animal Friends of Boone County (www.animalfriendsbc.org), held on April 16 at the Community Center in Belvidere.
This dance is a fund raiser to benefit programs to help the animals of Boone County. The dance is called Dance your Tail Off, a Spring Dance Celebration, and it is promising to be the greatest event ever held in Boone County.
You will get three things in one: A big raffle with a large amount of prizes donated by many generous merchants, hours of dancing, and dancing demonstrations featuring several area groups and private dancers. Christie Nicks, news anchor of WTVO Channel 17/Fox 39 will be MC.
For future dances and to learn more about dancing visit the website www.usadancerockford.com. This group holds several dances every month, one every fourth Saturday at the Community Center in Belvidere.

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