The symmetrical nature of ballet exercises, along with the extraordinary demands for both static and dynamic balance, makes ballet an ideal activity for improving posture. Ballet exercises are indicated for leg-length discrepancy, scoliosis, and postural restructuring and have a significant effect on the placement and use of the feet, ankles, knees, hips and spine, creating awareness of good alignment when performing daily activities.
The movements taught in ballet classes are designed to tone, firm and develop long, lean muscles as opposed to thick, bulky muscles. The exercises are performed on both the right and left sides, which promotes symmetry and allows the body the opportunity to train for stability (in the supporting leg) and gesture and movement.
In ballet classes, participants are taught a series of simple exercises called barre work. These exercises are designed to help build grace, poise and balance and are repeated at each class. Ballet activities teach you how to stand, move, balance and re-balance, change levels, move rhythmically, move gracefully and perform nonlocomotor movements most efficiently.
Ballet engages muscles that are seldom used in other sports, providing a total-body flexibility workout. Yoga postures are often used in conditioning for ballet.
Ballet requires the integrated use of the core musculature to maintain balance while executing demanding postures and complicated movements. It is an excellent form of exercise to strengthen and develop the core muscles of the back and abdomen, which may result in less back pain and a more toned abdomen and defined waistline.
Ballet requires a keen sense of focus and discipline, which can sharpen memory and improve cognitive functioning. Learning a sequence of ballet movements and routines challenges the nervous, proprioceptive and sensory systems. The repetitive nature of short structured physical routines builds confidence.
For more information, check out Adult Beginner Ballet Fitness CE course by LindaChristy Weiler, MS.