In North America today, there are more obesity, digestion problems, muscle and joint pain and back pain than ever before. There are a few reasons for this, but the number one cause is probably the lack of exercise happening. It is way too easy to get wrapped up in the busy-ness of life, but eventually, you will find yourself 10 years from now, still complaining about the same old problems! One of the most popular excuses people give for not exercising is lack of motivation – exercise simply isn’t very fun. There is one exercise routine that is not only fun, but it does the most for your body than any other exercise out there. That exercise is belly dancing. You may be surprised to hear that belly dancing is referred to as exercise, because when people think of belly dancing, they tend to think of it as just a cultural thing. Some people may even think of it as only a sexual activity, but belly dancing has been around for a very long time, and it can be a fun and invigorating exercise routine. You may be surprised to know that many cities and towns have places that offer belly dancing lessons, and you definitely don’t have to have a flat stomach to learn! These classes have women (and sometimes men!) of all shapes and sizes learning the ancient art of belly dancing. How belly dancing benefits your body: Overall, it is important to keep three basic principles in mind. Weight Loss: Belly dancing is constant movement, and it covers everything from cardio and strength training to balance and control. Circulation: Because of the movements performed by this dance, your heart, lungs and metabolism get a much needed boost, improving your overall health as well as your circulation. Joints and Bones: The constant and low impact movements of belly dancing allow your joints and bones to strengthen, reducing the risk of sprains, breaks and arthritis later in life. Spine and Back: Your spine is connected to the rest of your body, including your brain. When the spine is supple and flexible, your whole body feels good, and belly dancing is the best exercise out there to increase the suppleness of your spine and back. It will also help the alignment of your lower back, which is a problem spot for many people. Digestion: The rolling and swaying of the stomach and torso really does help the body’s digestion system. One of the best benefits of belly dancing may actually be how fun it is. Think about it: how many times have you quit an exercise routine? How many people would rather continue to do an activity that is relatively boring when something fun is offered to them? Belly dancing is great because it couples exercise and entertainment. You have the opportunity to get out of the house, get dressed up in fancy outfits and enjoy the company of others. Ladies, if one of your problems with exercise is lack of support from your partner, I have a feeling that when you tell them you want to learn to belly dance, those support problems will be a thing of the past!