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Health & Fitness

To live I dance’: Emily drops pen to make a living from dance fitness

Emily Shee Wangombe
Emily Shee Wangombe a dance instructor at the Fitness Gym located in Eastleigh pictured on January 9, 2020. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG 

Emily Wang’ombe, who is in her early 30s, quit her full-time job as a writer to pursue her passion in dancing. Four years later, Shee Dance has made her happier, healthier and hopeful, especially for the New Year. She talks all things dance with BDLife.

When did you begin dancing? I started dancing from the age of 10. It has always been my passion. I took part in festivals and competitions all through high school. I was also in a dancing group in church.

How did you get into it professionally? I studied Communications at Daystar University, after which I became a sports writer. But this didn’t fulfil me at all, so I decided to quit and follow my passion in dancing. That’s when Shee Dance came to life—four long, blissful and fulfilling years ago.

What does dance mean to you? It’s my breath and therapy. It never fails to put me in a good mood. Whenever I’m sad, angry or faced with life’s difficulties, I simply put on music and get on the groove. It also puts food on my table and pays my bills. (Laughs).

I love that it’s a creative outlet for me as well. I am free to invent new forms and choose my own music.

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What would you say motivates you? Dancing is my life. I love the fact that I can express myself through dance, and more so inspire and give my clients that feeling I get. It’s really life changing. My gym sessions are very entertaining. Seeing the smiles and energies on fitness enthusiasts pushes me to do better.

What time do you start and end your day? I’m always up at 4.30am, and my first session starts at 6am. My day ends mostly at 8pm, after which I unwind. I offer personal training to clients and fitness centres. I can do up to five sessions in a day, depending on the day, as well as the demand. In the four years I have been in the business, I have never once got bored of the workload.

Emily Shee Wangombe

Emily Shee Wangombe. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

Many people make fitness resolutions at the beginning of the year and end up falling off the bandwagon. Why would you say that happens? First, it depends on the objective and reasons why they set their fitness resolutions. Some may get discouraged, distracted and even forgetful of why they started in the first place. Others learn something different along the way and decide to change their goals.

Do you make any yourself? I used to make a lot of resolutions in school because it was mandatory to write. (Laughs). Now, I just set simple and realistic goals and get to work for them.

Does dancing help in weight loss or toning the body? Or both? Oh, both for sure!

Dancing is both an aerobic and anaerobic exercise, which help our bodies be at their healthiest.

Aerobic exercises are vigorous enough to raise your heart and breathing rates. If you do it on a regular basis, it can help you lose weight as much as other forms of exercise would. It’s advisable to have at least three dance sessions in a week to achieve this.

All forms of dancing improve balance and coordination, although some are better at it than others. Group dancing relies heavily on coordination, as all dancers need to be in tune with each other for the performance to work.

Dancing is especially good for toning the muscles in your legs and glutes. It also works the hips, your lower back and your abdomen. Some forms of dancing also work the arms and the upper body. As muscle tone improves and flexibility increases, you'll may experience relief from back pain and an increase in stamina.

Emily Shee Wangombe

Emily Shee Wangombe. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

Normally, I award branded T-shirts to clients who have lost the most weight. This really motivates the others to keep pushing in order to achieve their goals.

What other benefits of dancing are there? While dancing, and exercising in general, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.

Many of my clients, and especially the ones I train in the mornings tell me of how active their days have turned out to be. They are able to tackle their activities with a more positive mind set and mood after the classes.

Dancing also helps avoid heart diseases because it gets to pump better, and improve blood flow as well.

My sessions are also great networking channels for clients in their respective fields. Many of them get to create meaningful relationships; both personal and professional.

Do you follow any diets? I don’t follow any. However, I watch my intakes as well as my food portions.

What are your fitness goals for 2020? To get fitter and leaner, and build my resilience and agility. At the top of my list, however, is to get my abs back. The festive season really threw me off this time round. (Laughs).

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