Raising the Barre: 5 Ballet Benefits That Will Boost Your Fitness Game

ballet benefits

Many, many years ago, I signed up for a college ballet class. At the time, it didn’t even occur to me that I’d be surrounded by girls who’d taken ballet before… and I quickly discovered that I was the least flexible student in the class. (Yikes!)

But after a semester’s worth of Swan Lake, I realized that ballet benefits a person’s body and overall well-being in really some incredible ways.

1. Incredible Posture

Take one look at a professional ballerina, and you’ll notice impeccable posture right off the bat.

Barre work requires proper alignment in order to effectively master each move, and it also demands that you pay attention to your form. (Did someone say “spaghetti arms”?)

Specific techniques also work to correct your posture by emphasizing graceful, elongated movements.

In other words, the more barre workouts you do, the more you’ll sit up straight (and carry yourself with confidence). Goodbye, slouchy shoulders.

2. Enhanced Flexibility

Anyone who’s ever taken a ballet class knows that flexibility is a central component. (Sometimes, just trying to get your leg up on the barre itself is a challenge in and of itself.)

The more barre work you do, the more you’ll stretch those muscles and increase your overall flexibility.

That’s because ballet involves two different kinds of stretching: static and dynamic. Static stretching is often used after an exercise routine to cool down and stretch specific muscles while holding the stretched position, while dynamic stretching involves movement and is typically performed in warm-up exercises.

When I took ballet in college, I became so much more flexible in my legs. In fact, I went from 5’2″ to 5’3″ and a half.  How’s that for getting stretched out?

3. A Smaller Waist

Pretty much everyone admires a dancer’s physique. Ballerinas are known for their long, lean muscles and graceful silhouettes — and adding barre work to your fitness routine can help you achieve similar results.

Ballet burns around 400 calories per hour, and it strengthens your abdominal muscles in the process.

4. Better Agility

Like all exercise, you’ll need to stay consistent with your workouts in order to see these ballet benefits — but increased agility is definitely worth it. We oftentimes become less quick on our feet as we age.

In later years, this can lead to serious injuries and falls.

Ballet targets flexibility and balance, so you’ll naturally become more coordinated and graceful as you develop your skills. (And you don’t have to be a kid. Adults can reap similar benefits with consistent work.)

5. Stress Relief

There’s something so calming about barre workouts. While many fitness classes are all about high-energy dance routines and cardio, ballet requires a quiet focus that lets you center yourself after a stressful day.

If you love interacting with others, you can still enjoy the perks of group barre classes. This is a great way to build relationships with other people while strengthening your body and improving your general health.

Which of these ballet benefits intrigue you the most?

Lesley Sheridan is a high-maintenance fashion, beauty and lifestyle writer who thinks she’s low-maintenance. (Yes, she stole that line from When Harry Met Sally.) In addition to writing for The Local Lifestyle, her work regularly appears on Zenni Optical and Slickdeals. Make her day by sending her a tweet.

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