Keeping our hearts healthy is important. Cardiovascular exercises, which increase heart rate, keep our hearts in shape. Regular exercise has also been shown to lower blood pressure, freeing our heart from some of the effort in moving blood through our system. But many people don’t get much enjoyment from disciplined workouts. They know they need regular cardiovascular exercise to stay heart-healthy, but what activities are there to steer clear of tedious typical exercise programs? Many find dancing to be one such activity. Dancing allows you to get your heart pumping and your limbs moving without having to endure the monotony of exercising on a treadmill or at a gym. Dancing regularly keeping not only keeps ones heart healthy, it also helps maintain balance and coordination. Plus, of course, dance lessons and events let you get you out of the house regularly and make and meet friends. Local organizations, universities, community and, sometimes, churches hold dancing lessons and events that are open to people of all abilities and skill levels. If you haven’t danced in awhile, or even if you’ve never tried it before, it’s never too late to learn. Adding another skill to your list never hurts, and dancing is an ability that comes in handy mighty often. Dance lessons are typically offered by style (ballroom, folk, Latin, swing, et cetera) and ability level (beginner, intermediate, advanced, competitive). Most dances that you’re probably familiar with fall into the category of “ballroom dancing.” Ballroom dancing is performed with a partner (don’t worry; there are typically a number of “singles” taking lessons. You’ll be able to pair off when you go to the lesson). Everything from the internationally renowned waltz, to the classic American Foxtrot, to the Latin salsa and cha-cha, fall into the category of ballroom dance. Folk dancing typically refers to square dancing, contra dancing, or one of several Irish, Scottish, or English styles of dance. Folk dances can sometimes be more social than ballroom dances (since partners typically split up and join with others during the course of the dance). Other popular styles of dance include swing, Latin, traditional and many others. Feel free to explore. Books and videos can also be found online, if you just need a refresher, or would rather get the basics in the comfort of your own home. If you’re looking for a great way to be heart-smart, stays fit, and meet new people, try dancing. Dance lessons allow us to try something new, exercise, and take part in a social activity all at the same time. Find a style that interests you, pick the appropriate skill level, find a place, and dance!