THE BLOG

What 19 Years Of Tap Dancing Has Taught Me About Fitness

10/04/2015 09:15 BST | Updated 09/06/2015 10:59 BST

While my friends travel from gym to gym, trying out "the latest class" to stay fit, I have a slightly more unusual method when it comes to keeping myself feeling healthy.

Tap dancing.

That's right, my big fitness secret is that I don a pair of loud shoes once a week and pretend I'm Ginger Rogers (or Michael Flatley - depends what kind of day I've had really).

I come from a family of dancers, so my mum wasn't all that surprised when, after hearing about this wonderful game called "ballet and tap", I asked her if I could begin dance lessons at the grand old age of three and a half.

She caved in and took me to my first tap class just before my fourth birthday. Little did she know she'd still be telling me off for shuffling on her kitchen floor 19 years later.

As a kid, I liked tap because it meant I got to make a load of noise without being told off. These days, I love tap because it helps me chill the hell out.

It takes a lot of concentration to master a new routine, far more than it does to complete a sit-up or go running.

So while I'm in the studio, I never worry about the emails I haven't answered of the article I should have written - I simply don't have the brain space.

So why have I chosen now to gush about my mild obsession love of tap dancing?

No, it's not to get you all to take up tap (although I wouldn't be against it, obviously).

It's to say that the key to getting fit - and staying fit - is finding something you love doing.

We're bombarded with adverts for new fitness classes that claim will make us lose X amount of calories in X amount of time.

How many of us have tried these fads for a few weeks, then given up and slumped back on the sofa when the hype has died down?

I certainly have, but thankfully, I've always had dance in the background to keep me active.

Time and time again, we hear personal trainers say commitment is key to getting in shape.

No, I haven't got the stamina of a marathon runner or the muscle of a weightlifter from doing tap, but at least I attend classes consistently and that must count for something.

So I challenge you, as part of HuffPost UK Lifestyle's month of Fitspiration, to find a type of exercise that you actually want to do.

That way, you'll stick to it.

Stop focussing on what classes the celebs are doing. Quit thinking about what classes might be Instagram-worthy.

And above all, forget about how many calories you want to burn.

Think about what you enjoy, maybe even re-visit a childhood hobby.

Exercise shouldn't be a chore, and when you find something that makes you smile, the sweat will follow in no time.

This month we're running a Fitspiration campaign, where we're championing fitness as a positive addition to life rather than always being about weight loss. From inspirational interviews to easy-to-follow exercise tips, we hope to inspire everyone to get out there and have fun. Trust us, your body will thank you for it. If you'd like to contribute email uklifestyle@huffingtonpost.com or tag us on social media using the hashtag #HPFitness