I recently read an interview with Carlos Acosta, a Cuban ballet dancer who has been deemed “the greatest male dancer of his generation”. During the interview, Acosta said something that really stood out to me. He was asked, “If a person didn’t train in dance while young, do you think they can still gain suppleness with regular practice?
This is how he responded:
“Nureyev didn’t start till his teens and he went on to become a legend. Nothing is set in stone …there is this great trend for people in their 50s and 60s to train with ballet rather than go to the gym”
His words came as music to my ears. You see, as an osteopath in London, I regularly treat people who have developed negative long-term habits; lifestyle choices that often result in damaged physical and mental health. But if we consider the consequences of our choices, particularly the long-term consequences, we can start to see the impact our hobbies and habits are having on our health and we can gain the motivation we need to break free of our restrictions.
Too often we become trapped in the mind frame of “If we had our time again”, but as long as we are alive and capable, it is never too late to start a positive new adventure.
Dancing offers a long list of physical and mental benefits including:
• Improved condition of your heart and lungs
• Weight management
• Better coordination, agility and flexibility
• Increased aerobic fitness
• Improved muscle tone and strength
• Stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
• Increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
• Improved balance and spatial awareness
• Increased physical confidence
• Improved mental functioning
• Improved general and psychological wellbeing
• Greater self-confidence and self-esteem
The choices you make now are affecting the rest of your life.
You can read the full interview with Carlos Acosta at http://www.theguardian.com/stage/live/2015/nov/27/carlos-acosta-webchat-carmen-royal-ballet. Or, watch the BBC’s programme: Carlos Acosta: Cuba Calls