By Jennifer Mathieu Henshall, March 19, 2020
Shake. Burn. Quiver. These are the terms that give barre its edge – terms that make us (literally) feel like those two-pound weights, colorful resistance loops and 9-inch exercise balls are more likely found in a boot camp than on a playground. However, as much as we like to “barre so hard” and “shake in our grippy socks,” many barre enthusiasts are also attracted to the softer side of barre – the side that helps keep our muscles pliable, our minds centered, and most importantly, our immune systems uplifted.
Recent studies have drawn a link between moderate exercise – the type of exercise that you’ll find in your classic barre class – and a healthy immune system. According to David Nieman, Ph.D., of Appalachian State University, when a person engages in moderate training on a regular basis, her or his long-term immune response actually improves.
Nieman’s recent work showed that people who walked for 40-minutes a day at a moderate pace (i.e. walking two miles in 30 minutes), experienced half as many sick days caused by sore throats or colds than those individuals who didn’t exercise at all. And since barre workouts are safe to do every day, those regular trips to the barre are not only strengthening your muscles, but also improving your body’s defenses over time.
Unlike exercise that taxes your immune system (think heavy weight lifting, strenuous running and boot camp classes), moderate exercise encourages our bodies to produce and circulate more bacteria-fighting cells during those 60-minute bouts at the barre and for several hours after class.
Elise Joan, creator of Barre Blend, Beachbody’s new barre program, states that, “Barre Blend is designed to support and enhance your body’s immunity, rather than overworking or depleting your system. In addition to fire results, this program is designed to elevate lymphatic health, respiratory health, pulmonary health, cardiac health and digestion.”
Furthermore, the mind-muscle connection found in most barre classes helps to alleviate stress levels, which can encourage even greater immune system response gains. Instead of focusing on what you need to do after you leave your barre class, try to consciously connect to the work taking place in your glutes and hamstrings during your Pretzel. You’ll not only see the results, but will also feel more grounded both inside and outside of class.
As demonstrated by Elise, programs, like Barre Blend, “promote hopefulness, self-confidence and a focus on the many things we can control about our health — internally, externally, emotionally and mentally.”
So, the next time you step up to the barre, adjust your grippy socks and ready yourself for another epic workout, remember that those relevés and pliés will lead to more than just leaner legs and a stronger core. Your immune system will also embrace each and every tuck, pulse and hold.
About the Author
Jennifer is a barre instructor, personal trainer, clinical aromatherapist and author who discovered barre — her soul-mate workout — while training for the 2016 Boston Marathon. As a long-time runner, former bodybuilder and melanoma skin cancer survivor, Jennifer’s recent battle with autoimmune disease has changed her fitness focus to one that incorporates more mindful, purposeful and low-impact movements.
A former communication professor and mother of two daughters, Jennifer is excited to share her thoughts and experiences on ways to create and maintain a strong connection between the mind and body through barre.
To see this blog post and others, visit: https://thebarreblog.com