Why dancing is good for your health from Kristina Rihanoff
With Forever Move being Forever’s product of the month and our summer campaign #PoweredByArgi
starting in May, we are focusing on being healthier and exercising more. There are so many types of exercise, but one of our favourites has to be dancing as it’s said to have a positive effect on both your physical and mental health. There’s no better person to talk to about dancing than Forever’s Ambassador and professional dancer Kristina Rihanoff. We caught up with Kristina to find out where it all started and how dancing has benefitted her health and wellbeing…
Where does your love of dancing come from?
When I was growing up in Russia my dad was a musician in a band; he used to bring his friends around, and they all used to play together. I fell in love with music and dance at a young age and my mum could see that, so she took me to dance school. I studied ballet as well as ballroom and Latin and entered my first dance competition at seven years old.
What’s your favourite style of dance?
There are so many styles of dance that I love including ballroom and Latin. I particularly enjoy Paso Doble and the Samba, but I also like old style dances such the Waltz and Jive.
How do you prepare physically for your dance shows?
Yoga and dancing both prepare my body and keep it lean. I have been practising yoga for 18 years; it’s a massive passion of mine that’s improved my flexibility, strength and endurance. It has also helped to prevent me from getting any injuries from dancing. When I’m on tour I’m on my feet all night, which can be difficult, but regular yoga and dancing prepare me for this.
Would you say that dancing has improved your joints?
Yes, definitely. I used to suffer with my knees and experience lower back pain, but I’ve learnt how to use my joints properly when dancing; yoga has also helped a lot to prevent injury.
Do you feel Argi+ has impacted your movement when dancing?
During my Strictly performances and the live tours, Argi+ was a fantastic supplement for me. It’s a great source of vitamin B6, B12 & C which means it helps contribute to the reduction of fatigue, and this means, energy wise, it was a life saver – I wouldn’t have got through to finals without it! Argi+ is still very much a part of my life and I still take it before dancing and yoga.
What other benefits has dancing given you?
Dancing has caused me to know my body very well, and because my body is always moving, I use every muscle when I dance. I also engage my mind with the movements, and I love the fact that you can start dancing at any age. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 40s, 50s or 60s, in fact, last week I taught some couples at a social club and it was such a lovely experience to see them enjoying themselves. I get a real joy out of teaching adults and kids.
Along with the physical benefits, would you say dancing has plenty of wellbeing benefits too?
Of course, if we look back to ancient times or at African tribes, dance was a way of expressing thoughts and emotions. You release plenty of endorphins when you dance, and because you’re moving constantly, dance helps you to connect with the emotional centres in your brain. I have also heard that dancing can have a positive effect on the older generation who suffer from either Parkinson’s, Dementia or Alzheimer’s.