“Yes,” he said. “It’s not the most athletic move ever, but at the same time, you see how many people are doing it and you just don’t see a lot of people doing it.”
Belly dancing, an exercise that has traditionally been performed by women in the Middle East in the months leading up to Ramadan, is gaining momentum in North America as well. The New York City-based group of body-balancers is a testament to what many of us might think of as our country’s most boring pastime. Its popularity may be due to a variety of factors, including the popularity of the Kardashians and a sense of entitlement that has led many to go into such extreme activities because they think they’ve earned it.
“People have such unrealistic ways of judging people and things that are happening in our own lives,” Darnell said. “And now that’s the world that people know.”
But those standards are changing for those who choose to give it a go—the new definition of fitness is being pushed to the extreme. The challenge now is to maintain your health while maintaining a balance of social and physical fitness.
“You can be extremely fit without feeling like you’re cheating,” Darnell said, adding that those with more muscle mass in between their thighs should try to cut it back—no matter what they’re doing.
“It’s all about balance,” Landon said. “It’s not about being the fittest person in the world.”
The body-balancers’ advice to those just getting started is not to expect a quick return to pre-diet form—there are plenty of other ways to achieve a healthy weight, and many of them are very different than belly dancing.
“We’re teaching people about the basics of exercise,” Landon said. “That doesn’t necessarily make you the fittest person in the world.”
A good example of the differences and similarities can be found in the diet and exercise advice, according to Darnell. She advises that people focus less on exercise and more on eating healthily and getting more rest.
“You have to go do your cardio, eat healthy food and have a good sleep and you’re going to be fine,” she said.
Another approach would be to stick to the basics when it comes to exercise and the number of days of rest, she believes.
“People who are looking for something different want to be extreme in their life
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