Tired of Average, Boring Old Ways of Exercise? Try a Dance called Bhangra!

by Gurbinder (Babu) Parhar

Bored of treadmills and cardio bikes?

Are you one of those people who go to the gym for a week and then get bored and stop going? Well, you are not alone! I used to find exercising really boring until I found a solution. My solution was using a hobby to become my form of physical activity. As we learned throughout the quarter, staying active is very important for our health. It reduces the risk of so many diseases and disorders. The best way to stay active is to find an physical activity that you find enjoyable!

What is Bhangra? How did I got involved?

I love to dance and I have been dancing since I was little. The type of dance I do is called Bhangra. Bhangra is an energetic folk dance that originated in Punjab, India. Bhangra used to be only a traditional form of dance that farmers in Punjab did when they had a good season. Today, Bhangra is a very popular form of dance and also form of exercise! People like to do Bhangra for fun or as exercise and even, on teams to compete against other Bhangra teams!

I started dancing when I was young as Bhangra is the dance done at Indian weddings, receptions, or any joyous occasion. This is when my love for Bhangra increased and I started performing at my cousin’s weddings, at school for cultural shows and also, at events of programs I was involved in. My senior year, my older sister made a Bhangra team and we performed at a cultural show at UW in front of 1500 people. My freshman year at UW, I tried out for the UW Bhangra Team and made it. This year, as a sophomore, I am the captain of the UW Bhangra Team.

Not everyone joins teams or gets really involved. Many just use Bhangra as an exercise method and nothing beyond that, which is totally fine! Joining a team could bring a lot of cultural experience as well as give you an opportunity to meet new people.

How is Bhangra a form of exercise?

As Bhangra has become more popular, it is now done by people all around the world. It is not just done as a hobby, but as a form of exercise. Bhangra is a very energetic dance done with fast paced Punjabi music and drum beats, and is now a simple, fun and easy way to exercise. Bhangra is now known to be a great way to stay fit as it is “designed to raise heart rate, strengthen the lungs and work out all the major muscle groups in the body like the legs and buttocks” (Bhangra Fitness: The Workout That Jives). According to an article, Bhangra actually helps reduce risks for diseases like any heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. As we have learned, to reduce the risks for these diseases, exercise is very important! Why not try an exciting exercise to reduce your risks for these diseases? Also in about 45 minutes of doing Bhangra, you would burn up to 500 calories (Bhangra Fitness: The Workout That Jives). Bhangra definitely helps build endurance, increase stamina, and also helps reduce stress! An article called “Bhangra Fitness: The Workout That JivesUW Bhangra” talks about all the benefits from this form of dance and how it can help your body in the long run.

How does exercising change your diet needs?

Daily exercise definitely changes your diet needs and it is very important to make sure your nutritional needs are met. When you exercise, you are either losing fat or you are turning fat into muscle. It is really important for an active person to eat properly to receive the right amount of vitamins and minerals for the required daily amount and for energy. It is also important to get enough carbohydrates, fat and protein to get the energy to stay active. The need for more carbohydrates, fat and protein involves an increase in total kcalories. It is important to increase your total kcalories intake to stay healthy with exercise. 3000 kcals a day or more is the daily recommendation for an active person. To meet this recommendation, it is important to eat nutrient-dense foods, which are foods that contain less calories and more nutrients. Make sure while you are active, you meet nutritional needs as well, as they are equally

Don’t like to dance? Find your own active hobby to be your physical activity!

Everyone finds different things enjoyable. For instance, I like to dance, you might like to do karate! What ever your favorite hobby may be, use it to help you stay active and healthy! It is very important to exercise and not a lot of exercises are entertaining, which is why you have to go the extra step to find something enjoyable to you. I think this is a great way to stay fit because you will be having fun as well. Once you do find an activity, get involved. Do some research. Along the process, I'm sure you will find many other people who enjoy it, too. This way you can have fun, get your daily exercise to stay healthy and meet new people! I encourage everyone to find an activity that is fun for them and get involved!


“Bhangra Fitness: The Workout That Jives.” Article Garden: Sustainable Living Articles. 2008.

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