Benefits From Bellydancing
by Raylene Bliss

First published in the Southern Courier 15 February 2000

For all those people who made a resolution to get fit in the new millennium but have already given up, Bellydancing may be the answer. Anna Menzies, Kylie Prats, Lisa Johnston, Michelle Daffy and Patricia Brown started Bellydancing just before the turn of the new millennium.

Anna, a 27-year-old publicist from Woollahra said, “I love the exotic element of Bellydancing which brings richness into my life.”

Kylie, a 36-year-old graphic designer from Kensington said, “After only a few short weeks my muscle tone is increasing, and I find Bellydance gives me the gentle but thorough workout I have been looking for.”

Lisa, a 21-year-old secretary and psychology student of Kingsford said Bellydancing had improved her confidence and posture.

Michelle, a 37-year-old office manager of Narwee has found the benefits for her include greatly reduced back pain and some weight loss. “I did find out, although I secretly knew, that I am not very fit,” she said. “Bellydancing is a hell of a lot more complicated than it looks and twice as much fun.”

Patricia was shocked when, after only one class of Bellydancing, her frozen shoulder improved dramatically. Two more Bellydancing devotees who began classes in June last year can attest to the healing power of this form of dance. Marina Hatzigeorgiou has found that her migraines have been reduced in frequency and intensity while Jennifer Zuber found her chronic hip problems disappeared.

Clare Godfrey, a 36-year-old registered nurse from Coogee, said that the most positive thing about Bellydancing was that it reduced stress levels. “For the duration of the lesson I am transported to a different place and time where none of my day to day stresses exist,” she said.

Dr Misaki Ikegame of Potts Point Family Medical Practice said Bellydancing could help better certain conditions such as lower back problems, sciatica, osteoarthritis, sacroiliac joint pain and any other soft tissue back strain. “It’s particularly good for these conditions because it is low impact and strengthens the back and abdominal muscles,” she said.

David Peterson, a physiotherapist at Potts Point Physiotherapy said that the deep transverse abdominal muscles and oblique abdominal muscles were worked by Bellydance, making it unique as a form of exercise.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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