Or more importantly Living Well for Longer:
There has been much publicity recently regarding the increasing of our life expectancy in light of which, we thought we would also look into the recent announcement that one in three children born today is likely to live to 100! In fact this statistic was first announced by the ONS (office for national statistics) back in 2012. Meaning that some of our teachers already have students that stand a one in three chance of seeing their hundredth birthday.
There was quite a focus on the wealth aspect, and how people might have to work for longer or pensions last for longer, however as a dance company thought we were in the perfect position to focus on the health issue. It is all very well living to a hundred, but we want to live well for those hundred years, not spend the last few decades struggling with health issues. Thankfully further research has shown that regular exercise can help prevent or delay the onset of many diseases that can show up in later life, such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and lung problems. Here is just one article of many about the health benefits of exercise.
As a result, we have decided to focus on fitness in our chlidrens’ classes. Habits learned early can stick for life, so why not instil some healthy habits? As pension plans are best started young, why not start your child’s health pension really young? Whilst this is not simply about obesity, excessive weight gain has been shown to be one of the major health issues in children in middle childhood, with this also potentially leading to a number of serious conditions in later life. (Boyd & Bee, 2009).
And hence our decision to focus our current dance classes on fitness. Of course In reality, any well-planned dance class is going to help improve fitness. They would all include some gently increasing levels of cardio vascular exercise to warm up, toning and dynamic stretching exercises to prepare muscles for dancing, and further stretching cool them down afterwards. And the dancing itself is a lively activity, so it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to shift the focus a little more towards the fitness aspect of our classes. Already major dance educators such as the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) have included longer jumping sequences in their new syllabi, realising not only the importance of increased cardiovascular fitness but also the fact that modern children are more likely to get their most regular exercise through organised classes as opposed to playing outside in their own time. Here is quite an interesting article on this by the BBC.
So… our dance teachers will be planning their classes with this in mind, increasing the cardio-vascular elements of their classes just that little bit more. This way the children we teach will be getting fitter without even realising. Learning healthy habits in a fun way that will hopefully help them lead a healthier and livelier later life.