27 September, 2023

Exercise is essential to maintaining good physical health and reducing our breast cancer risk, but can it be fun too? The answer to that question is a resounding yes! When most of us hear the words ‘high-intensity exercise’ we think of sprinting or squat jumps, but dancing can be just as effective! 

Bolly Bhangra Fit is a dance class based in Cambridge which channels high-energy Bhangra music to help people get active. 

Breast Cancer UK caught up with Bolly Bhangra Fit’s founder, Sophie Arora, to discuss the health benefits of dancing.

“I moved to Cambridge last year as part of my GP training and was excited to continue attending dance classes. Being of a South Asian background, Bollywood and Bhangra music are a big part of my culture. 

“Sadly, I found no specific classes focussing on these genres and was left at a crossroads. Either take a break from dancing or take the opportunity to set up classes of my own. It felt like a now-or-never situation. and I can say I’m so glad I chose the latter option! 

“Although very different on paper, my roles as a doctor and a dance instructor very much overlap in some ways. There is a shared goal and focus on physical and mental health, as well as general well-being. 

“Speaking to my South Asian friends and family gave me a real insight into their apprehension towards the gym. A lot of the time it can come down to a lack of confidence and comfortability in mixed mainstream gyms. Especially if this is not something they have grown up doing or have done before. I would like Bolly Bhangra Fit to offer an exclusive safe space for these women to exercise and find community. Sometimes, there can be a very fine line between saying yes to an activity or no, and I’d hope that creating a friendly, culturally inclusive environment, may just tip the answer to a yes, and thereby help people engage with more active lifestyles! 

“Some people come to the classes because they want to try something new, and for others, it’s a connection to their culture. Dancing to Bollywood and Bhangra music is a great form of exercise. The music is upbeat at our sessions, and we keep the dance routines high energy. This keeps the heart rate consistently elevated, which can help to improve cardiovascular fitness, burn fat, and reduce the risk of disease, for example, breast cancer. 

Arunansu attends Bolly Bhangra Fit on a weekly basis, and he has found that attending dance classes has changed his entire outlook on exercise.  

“Before BBF, I would struggle and dread getting any exercise done after work. I had chronic back pain worsened by having a sedentary job, but thanks to the BBF classes, my back pains have resolved, and now I look forward to getting my fun weekly cardio session in!” 

Another regular attendee, Simarpreet Kaur Bhuji, believes combining joy with physical activity is the key to a successful health journey. “I sparsely worked out before joining BBF. But after being a part of BBF for a few months, I have realised that workouts can be fun. 

 “I am much more active now and also feel more confident in my body. As a result, I am super motivated to continue my health and fitness journey with BBF. This was exactly the push and motivation I was looking for.” 

If you were inspired by Sophie’s story, check out Bolly Bhangra Fit for more information on her classes. 

Start your journey today by trying our prevention quiz. We’ve also got a handy resource full of information about the benefits of physical activity in reducing your risk of breast cancer. 

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