by Cord Prettyman
Master Personal Trainer


Bigfork, Montana 59911


By Appointment Only

“There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them,” said the late Austrian writer Vicki Baum. She could have added, “Plus, it’s a great way to get in shape.

Children learn how to dance long before they know there is such a thing as music. Unfortunately, for most adults, we tend to forget how good dancing feels.

If you secretly sashay across your living room when you’re home alone or find yourself doing the cha-cha to the radio, you’ll be pleased to know that not only is dancing an exceptional way to let-loose and have fun but it also provides some terrific benefits for your health.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic report that social dancing helps reduce stress, increase energy, improve strength and develop muscle tone, coordination and balance. And whether you kick up your heels to hip-hop, ballroom dancing or country, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says that dancing can lower your risk of coronary heart disease, decrease blood pressure, help you manage your weight and strengthen the bones of your hips and legs.

Dancing is a unique form of exercise because it provides the benefits of an aerobic exercise, while allowing you to engage in a social activity. A 21-year study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that dancing can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other form of dementia in the elderly.

How good a workout is dancing?

The health benefits you get from dancing are directly linked to the type of dancing you’re doing, how strenuous it is, the duration and your skill level. It is estimated that dance burns anywhere from 5 to 10 calories per minute depending on speed and intensity.

Some dance routines are absolute calories blasters. For a 150 lb. person, disco, ballroom, square, Latin, Mambo and Salsa burn an average of 396 calories per hour. Jitterbugging, Ballet and the Twist torch 432 calories.

If you’re looking for specific health results, Belly Dancing improves your posture and muscle tone, maintains flexibility and helps with weight loss and stress reduction. Ballroom Dancing builds and increases stamina, strengthens and tones your legs and overall body, helps with weight loss and increases flexibility and balance.

If your preference is Salsa, regular sessions will build your endurance, help you lose weight, relieve stress and may help lower your blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. And finally, square dancing provides cardiovascular conditioning, strengthens bones, tones muscles and helps develop strong social ties.

The most important thing to remember is that any type of dancing is better than no dancing at all.

Ready to kick up your heels? There are plenty of opportunities to dance in Teller County.
Starting in October, the Woodland Park Parks and Recreation Department is offering classes in American Rhythm Cha Cha/Freestyle Cha Cha, Country Two Step and West Coast Swing. For more information call 687-5225. Or if you want to Zumba at Woodland Fitness call 686-8800.

CornerStreet Dance in Woodland Park offers Ballet, Ballroom, Tap, Jazz and Hip-Hop at 686-8610 and information about the internationally acclaimed Jazzercise can be gotten at 687-3467. To dance up on Cripple Creek, call Cresson Dance Company at 689-5745.

And finally, if you want to jumpstart your dancing career, visit and get the scoop on the Zumbathon benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure on October 14th from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Ute Pass Cultural Center. When you get there, remember to dance like no one is watching.

Cord Prettyman is a certified Master Personal Trainer and owner of Absolute Workout Fitness and Post-Re-hab Studio in Woodland Park. He can be reached at 687-7437 or by email at