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How Does Dance Class Make One a Better Athlete?

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
How Does Dance Class Make One a Better Athlete?
A budding ballerina in dance class. Photo Credit: Eamonn McCormack/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Taking a dance class can improve your athleticism by increasing your balance, flexibility and endurance -- desirable attributes for many sports. Dancing promotes lean muscles and agility, and helps develop a strong fitness foundation that you can apply to your sports activities. Taking a dance class can help you become stronger, faster and more powerful.

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Heart Beat

Your cardiovascular system pumps oxygenated blood throughout your body to your muscles and tissues. A strong cardiovascular system can help you excel at almost any sport. Taking dance class conditions your cardiovascular system, according to Eric N. Franklin, author of "Conditioning for Dance." Dancing improves your body's ability to deliver oxygen, explains Franklin. This is beneficial for a variety of sports, from running to gymnastics.

Injury-Free Flexibility

Athletes condition to improve performance avoid injury. Injury prevention is a crucial part of being a winning elite or amateur athlete. If you're injured, you can't participate in your chosen sport until you recover and, when you do, it typically takes time to get back to your pre-injury level. The flexibility that you gain from dance class will help prevent sports-related injuries, according to Dr. Peter Brukner, author of "The Encyclopedia of Exercise, Sport and Health."

Dance 'Til You Drop

Endurance is critical in many sports, including football, basketball, and track and field. Your performance suffers if you don't have the saying power to run back and forth on a basketball court or drive down the field to score a touchdown. Taking a dance class assists with building endurance. The conditioning it provides helps your body build the stamina needed for athletic activity, according to Franklin. Because endurance training is essential to most sports, the stamina you build from dance class can help you perform better.

Choose Your Moves

When choosing a dance class, consider which ability you'd like to enhance. Certain dance types improve specific abilities more than others. For instance, if you are a gymnast, you might want to take a ballet class to improve your balance. A basketball player can benefit from taking a modern dance class, which will help build stamina and endurance. A tap dance class might help you improve your coordination on the football field.

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