Everybody Dance Now

Do you have that song stuck in your head? GOOD. It will serve you well today.

Why, you ask? Because today is National Dance Day, aka my favorite day ever! Other than my birthday. And Christmas. And Bug and Mister Jess’s birthdays. And my wedding anniversary.

At any rate, it’s definitely on my top ten list of favorite days ever, but it’s actually only been around for a few years. It was launched in 2010 by the Dizzy Feet Foundation‘s co-president Nigel Lythgoe (also the Big Boss of “So You Think You Can Dance”, another obsession of mine). According to DFF’s website, National Dance Day, which falls on the last Saturday in July, is a “grassroots campaign (that) encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and combat obesity.”

Embrace dance? Yeah, I think I can do that.

As excited as I am about a day devoted entirely to my favorite form of exercise, I have been living National Dance Day nearly every day since I was little. My love for music and dance was fostered from an early age, watching my Aunt Teri’s college dance performances with awe, attending ballet class with my cousin Charity. We even put on shows for our family, captive audience that they were. I adored classic movies like Singin’ in the Rain and White Christmas, where the actors seemed to glide on air. If I could have hopped through the TV screen and danced along with Gene Kelly, I would have.

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Prima ballerina in training.

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Tiny dancers!

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Aunt Teri and I in all our 80s glory, posing for a dance wear ad. Nice legs, Aunt T (she’s the hottie on the left)!

There have been, junior high dances (fun), high school dances (super fun) and college dances (a little too much fun). Nightclub dances and wedding dances. “I have the house to myself, solo dance party, heyyyyy” dances and “the music got a hold of me in the middle of Starbucks, this is awkward” dances. I dance at work. I dance at stoplights. I dance when I run. I dance for Bug and hope that he catches the fever.  Trust me when I say that if there is music playing, it takes a lot of self control not to dance.

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Even a wedding dress can’t stop my sweet moves.

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My Dance Face™.

While I generally hate being sweaty, out of breath, and sore, I don’t consider it a good dance session unless I’m all three when the music stops. If my feet are achy and my throat is scratchy at the end of my sesh, I’m a happy girl.

Now, it wouldn’t be National Dance Day without everyone getting involved, so I asked the other Chicks to send me evidence of them getting their dance on. Enjoy these sweet moves!

Brooke and her running pal, Sara, show us what they’ve got:

Meri and Pooks sweatin’ to the beat:

Vic shakin’ it:

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Vic dancing up a storm with her friend, Audra.

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Smooth moves!

Cam using what her mama gave her:

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She’s so excited (to be dancing) and she just can’t hide it!

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Bec is an expert chair dancer:

A sampling of my sweet style:

Are you a dancing machine? What’s your go-to move? How do you plan to celebrate National Dance Day? Talk to me in the comments!

Chick Chat: How else do we scoot our doots?

Because we’re not just about running. In fact, some of us are barely about running. Ahem.

But when we’re not running (and working and raising kids and cooking and eating and talking about cooking and eating), we shake our little rumps in a variety of different ways!

We spin. We lift. We DANCE. So, here are the variety of ways we get our move on.

Meri

Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I wake up at 5:10. Twenty minutes later, I’m warming up with a couple of miles on either the treadmill or elliptical. From there, it’s stretching and keeping one eye out the windowed front of the gym, waiting for my trainer’s car to roll into the parking lot.

“Ron alert!” Our friends on the treadmill always call over to us.  They strength train on other days so they know just how appreciated this “warning” is – it lets us mentally prepare for the next hour (and finish up conversation).

Within this hour, I shut my mouth and listen. I lift heavy weights, do lunges with sandbags on my shoulders, drive my knees up while stepping on a box, and hold planks for two minute stretches. Burpees, sprints, tire jumps, tricep dips. I count reps in my head and try to remember the order of the exercises, which is difficult when your mind is just wondering where is the coffee?

I’ve been working with my trainer for a year and it’s made me a stronger person, both physically and mentally.

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Vic

When not running, I typically take a spinning class at the gym, walk with friends or toss around my trusty kettlebells. I’ll do an obscene amount of crunches, often with a weight in hand and take an occasional yoga class. (Let’s face it. I’m not flexible and my balance is all off.) But for my favorite non-running activity, I grab an oar and  row, row, row my boat with a few friends.

Crew is a team sport and I am lucky enough to live near some pretty fantastic waterways, the Genesee River and the famous Erie Canal and to row with some pretty incredible women. In the spring, summer and fall, we hit the water in a sweep shell (that’s a 4-or 8-person boat where each rower has one oar.) Rowing is an incredible full body workout – it relies on a rower’s core strength and technique, both of which take years to master. Nope, it’s not all about your arms, that’s a myth.

I love rowing and the feeling of skimming across the water. I love that all rowers in a boat need to work together to pull as one.

In the winter, I often join friends at a local rowing center, in indoor tanks and to use the ergs, also known as rowing machines. As much as I try to pretend we’re on the open water, we never are. It not the same, but it is wonderful to have that year round option.

Vic Scoot Crew
Jess

I love to dance.

Let me repeat that: I. Love. To. Dance. If it were possible, my entire life would be one of those choreographed song and dance numbers you see in the movies. Flash mobs excite and delight me. I wake up in the morning singing (lately, it’s been JT’s “Mirrors”). I jam to my iPod on my commute to work. Sometimes I dance down the halls at work. What can I say? I’ve got the rhythm inside.

So, when I’m not running (which is quite often these days, as I’ve mentioned), I am dancing. I dance in front of the mirror. I dance for Bug. I dance for Bug and Mister Jess. Occasionally I dance for strangers, although this is purely accidental.

I have no idea how many calories I burn, or if I even burn any at all. I just love to do it, so I do. Wouldn’t it be great if that was the case for all forms of exercise?

P.S. I also do yoga, but dancing is more fun to talk about. JAZZ HANDS!

 Scoot Jess Dance
Cam
My other exercises are numerous.  Right now, I’m taking yoga, boot camp, boxing, Bulgarian Bag exercise and R.I.P.P.E.D.
R.I.P.P.E.D. is full body workout circuit.  It’s in its 11th season so the routine is constantly changing. Each letter stands for a set of exercises which is about 6-9 minutes long.  R is for resistance, I for intervals, P for Power, P for plyometrics, E for endurance and D for diet making for a 50 minute total body workout.  R.I.P.P.E.D. is by far the best all encompassing workout I’ve found.  It works every single muscle and it’s constantly evolving so there’s very little chance of plateau.  I’ve had the best results with R.I.P.P.E.D., I lost over 30 pounds and was certified as an instructor a couple years ago.  Whenever I’m feeling like my workout needs a kick in the ass, I go back to R.I.P.P.E.D.  There really is nothing like it.
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Brooke

Does shopping count as cross training? No? Well, let me know if that changes, okay?

My pre-pregnancy cross-training consisted of stroller walking and the occasional hot yoga class. Now I’m trying to be smarter about it- it’s not just about running, it’s about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, right? I’ve started lifting weights and doing squats, lunges and all kinds of ab work.

I’ve also subscribed to Barre3 online workouts. Barre3 is a blend of ballet, yoga and pilates. The online workouts are awesome because I can set my iPad on the kitchen counter and work on my fitness right there. And oh my, do I feel the burn with these exercises.

Bec

I’ve always been sort of an exercise butterfly, flitting from thing to thing. I get obsessed with something and then it passes and before I know it, there’s a pile of things related to that fad in the corner of my room, collecting dust.

That is, until I found Zumba. When I say I love it, I am not exaggerating. Not even a little. And if you had told me two years ago that love and exercise would ever come out of my mouth in the same sentence, I’d have slapped you silly. Okay, well, I’d probably just have shot you a really dirty look from my couch, but whatever.

For me, Zumba transcends exercise and calorie burn (although it is amazing in both of those respects). Zumba is like an awesome Latin/Hip Hop class for grown ups (with no scary recital costume at the end of the year). I have so much fun in a Zumba class that I forget I’m working out until I feel the burn the next morning.

My schedule hasn’t allowed for as much Zumba as I’d like lately, and my ‘fluffy’ class is no longer going on, so I miss it! (And I miss my Katie!) Katie was the best damn Zumba instructor ever. She played awesome contemporary music – lots of Pitbull – and just had fun with it. I even liked it a little when she played Fire Burning, the routine for which could knock me flat on my butt.

So, with my schedule dying down a bit, my plan is to head back to Zumba and shake this weight off, humming Pitbull all the while.

Scoot Bec Zumba
So that’s how we get our proverbial burn on. Besides running, tell us how you get yours!  And remember, our Road ID giveaway ends tonight at midnight!