Think of exercise, and you probably think of either those people you see out jogging in all weather, head down against the rain, hair plastered to their head, mud-spattered trainers; or your mind conjures up an image of the gym with all the terror of unflattering lycra, and an hour spent cycling on a bike that doesn’t go anywhere.

Just imagine if you could dress up in your best clothes and high-heeled shoes before heading off for an hour long workout? I do that all the time because my exercise of choice is ballroom and Latin dancing. That may sound rather sedate, but only if you’ve never tried it. I remember taking a boyfriend to a dance class once: he was a rugby player and keen canoeist, and scoffed at the idea of ballroom dancing being a way to keep fit. After a three minute quickstep he was gasping for breath and begging to be allowed to sit down! Obviously some dances are faster than others, and jive, quickstep and cha cha will burn off the calories quicker than say a waltz, but the slower dances need a lot of control, so you gain strength and flexibility too.

There are dance classes all over the country for all levels, but if you live in the Birmingham area I particularly recommend Mandy Daniels at www.letsdance.org.uk

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