Dance – The New Alternative to the Gym and Why We Love It

By: Youssef Tawfik and Zeina El Mofty

We’re all about self love and embracing your body , but that doesn’t mean that wanting to change it is not okay. It’s okay to want to be fitter or change your body in a way or another , but that usually means that you should start hitting the gym. To some, the gym is a place where they feel motivated, challenged and excited, but if you are not one of these “some” , it’s okay.

The gym is not for everyone, and there’s much more to exercising than CrossFit classes. Now, let us tell you about alternatives you might actually enjoy. We know we should, but we don’t really want to mention the benefits of exercise on your body and your physical health because as important as it is, you’ve already heard about it a million times from a million different sources so we don’t want to bore you. What you might not know though , is the huge positive impact your physical activity has on your mental health.

Varied effects of exercise on the brain you might not be familiar with are:

+ Delivers vital nutrients

+ Increases performance

+ Longer attention span

+ Smoother information processing

+ More fluid problem solving

Exercise releases an important blend of mood altering hormones including dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and norepinephrine. This neural cocktail doesn’t only enhance brain performance required for study and information retention, but they also grant you a sense of euphoria by binding onto receptors in your brain. If you’re already bored with this mild biology talk, here’s our point, straightforward: exercise is not always for your body, it’s for your psychology too. Oh, we almost forgot, endorphins help with depression, ADHD, anxiety and other similar disorders.

Two Malaks, both fictional. One is a wanna-be influencer, she lives 70% of her life at CrossFit. She wakes up at 5 AM everyday, makes her breakfast and goes for a run before school/uni – goals right? Not really, at least not for the other Malak. The other Malak is reading this right now and imagining how bored to hell and dead/tired she would be if she was the other type of
Malak. This Malak doesn’t enjoy her time in the gym (yeah, she went once, don’t judge her), she doesn’t like how breathless and sweaty she quickly gets and the atmosphere there is too stuffy. She hates the routines and steps she has to do and she hates that she has to count while doing them.

Now, whichever kind of Malak you are, acknowledge it, understand it and accept it. It’s okay to like what you like and hate everything else. Whether you hate or you’re addicted to the gym doesn’t make you an anomaly. There are always alternatives, and here are a few examples. Now that we’ve established that you and the gym are not compatible, let’s now discuss the other fish in the sea. As Zeina, I personally like to refer to my ballet practice as “tamreen” , though some might undermine it. Ballet is in fact a form of art and expression, but that doesn’t make it any less of physical exercise than any other sport. As Youssef, I do both dance and go to the gym. I usually do dance sessions at home, even though I get some backlash for it. But I don’t care, it is fun and makes me very happy and energetic. It is considered tamreen, and instead of saying I can’t go to the gym I have my alternative, I can’t escape.

As we all know “the job of feets is walking but their hobby is dancing!” The same thing applies to any dance class: Zumba, tango , HipHop, contemporary…literally any and every form of dancing that can come to your mind. Don’t even get us started on the multiple other options
you have too. If you give it a chance, you might find yourself in yoga , pilates or even pole dancing (it’s not as inappropriate as it sounds we promise). Yeah, you have countless different things to do. So sorry to break it down to you, if you don’t exercise even though you want to, don’t blame it on the gym. Make no excuses. Or do.

As I (Zeina) always say: Totally your call.
As I (Youssef) always say: give it your all – all day, everyday!

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