Bhangra Fitness, the workout that jives…

Think India, and at once, a myriad of images comes to mind – its intricate history and cultural diversity; the pageantry of Bollywood; variety of spices; upbeat music; customer call centres and advanced information technology. All these dance their way to our collective memory.

Now, add to these, the lively Bhangra dancing that is the trademark of Indian films has emerged as the newest fitness craze. The Bhangra aerobic dance has seeped into mainstream pop culture and has become the rage in recent years.

Bhangra, actually, is a euphoric harvest dance from Punjab, India. It is ordinarily accompanied by energetic singing and drum beating. Originally, this dance is performed by farmers to celebrate an abundant harvest season. The dance movements imitate farming activities like sowing and reaping.

In time, Bhangra has evolved and fused with other kinds of music and dance such as hip hop, disco, reggae and techno. Since then, Bhangra has been dominating the club scene internationally. Next, comes its advent into the fitness world via the Bhangra aerobic dance.

The traditional Bhangra dance with its stomping feet, shoulder-shrugging, hand-clapping, swinging arms all the while bouncing dance steps has been modernised.

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Aerobic moves, hip hop and salsa have been incorporated to the dance accompanied by modern Bhangra music and throbbing drum beats. This is the much talked about Bhangra workout. It has enjoyed a surge in popularity because it is easy to do and fun at the same time. It has also provided a new dimension to the fitness industry because of its positive results.

The Bhangra aerobic dance involves continuous, rhythmic body movements designed to raise heart rate, strengthen the lungs and work out all the major muscle groups in the body like the legs and buttocks. This workout is done to music with pulsating beat to set the tempo. When one does the Bhangra workout, the body muscles demand more oxygen-rich blood and give off more carbon dioxide and other wastes.

This makes the heart beat faster to keep up. Overtime, with regular workout, the heart grows stronger and can meet the muscles’ demands with little effort. The Bhangra workout also helps one avoid chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. It also lowers blood pressure, builds strong bones and helps control weight. A 45-minute Bhangra aerobic dance burns 500 calories. How’s that for motivation?

In a nutshell, the physiological benefits derived from a Bhangra workout include improved overall cardiovascular functions, renewed physical stamina, increased lung power, enhanced muscle tone and flexibility, and weight loss. Psychologically, the Bhangra aerobic dance works like a stress and tension buster. It improves one’s attitude and increase personal confidence. If group activities appeal to you, join the Bhangra workout.

It fosters group camaraderie and builds new friendships. What makes the Bhangra workout ideal is that it is a mild aerobic exercise sans the boring part – rigid rules and routines. It is a fun and pleasurable social affair. The workout takes place with an infectious and upbeat music and everyone is in a happy mood. It is like having the best of both worlds – healthy and happy.

Now that you’re enthused, stand up and get moving – do the Bhangra workout. Dance to your heart’s delight! A word of caution though; Get a medical check-up before embarking on the Bhangra workout or any fitness regimen, for that matter.

If you live in Singapore, check out the YMCA’s course schedule at www.ymca.org.sg for more info. Bhangrarobics is the latest fitness trend to hit Singapore! It has won rave reviews from fitness gurus world-wide, and it’s so much fun! You will not realise you are working out! Balle balle, Hadippa!!


Hanu Nirukurti owns and runs the www.BhangraFitness.com website, a site that gives extensive information on Bhangra and its many health benefits.