Clogging is Healthy

Anyone who has ever clogged knows how much fun it is, but what they do not know is how healthy it is.

Clogging is a form of dance that meets all the criteria of "Total exercise" it provides the five essentials vital to a well-rounded exercise program. Total exercise should include stretching, toning, posture/coordination, circulation/energy and stress reduction.

Clogging involves the use of all of the large muscles of the body. Cloggers do a lot of pointing and flexing. This allows them to develop both muscular strength and muscular endurance. Cloggers also develop great flexibility. This greater flexibility reduces their chances of injury while clogging or participating in other strenuous activities. Any activity that uses the large muscles and is done smoothly and continuously is very effective for toning and firming the muscles.  Since firm muscles take up less space than flabby ones, you can obtain a better shape and form. When you clog, you use the muscles in front of the legs every time you point your toes in the direction of the floor. When the foot is in a flexed position, you use the muscles in the back of the legs. When your knees are slightly bent and you are transferring your body weight from side to side. you are strengthening the broad surface muscles of the buttocks. Although the lower limbs receive the maximum benefits of clogging, you also tone and firm your abdominal muscles.

Clogging will aid in burning excess fat. When you clog, you take in more than the usual amount of oxygen. Taking in large amounts of oxygen means burning calories. This enables you to speed up the rate you burn and to rid the lungs of carbon dioxide. When clogging, natural continuous breathing at moments of strain will make the difference between feeling exhausted and feeling invigorated. If you're extremely tired at the end, it may be because of the lack of oxygen in the body. You may be holding your breath while you try to figure out a difficult step. Because clogging is an aerobic activity (with oxygen), the body demands more than an ordinary amount of oxygen, therefore it is essential to breathe as deeply as possible. If you find yourself holding your breath, breathe deeply and try to relax.

Clogging will train the heart and lungs to work more efficiently, bringing more oxygen to the body and to the working muscles with less effort. The better condition you're in, the more effort you need to put into your clogging to give your heart and lungs a workout each time.

If you are serious about using clogging as a way to shape up, or as a way to stay in shape, you can look forward to a reduction in body fat, a decreased risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. You will notice an increased energy level and you will have more stamina. Clogging and other forms of aerobic exercises can greatly reduce your level of stress.

Don't ever think you have to dance exactly the same way everyone else does. We all work with individual proportioned bodies. You have to progress at your own level. The important thing is to put maximum effort into your clogging. All dance movements begin in the centre of the body and move out. Always keep your body weight lifted and the waistline held tall. Breathe naturally and freely as possible.

Pay attention to your instructor, feel good about what you are doing, relax and enjoy yourself.

by Dewey & Bobbie Paul -  Dayton, Ohio
American Squaredance, September 1983


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