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Medical Edge: Belly dance workout helps get rid of waist weight

BLUE ASH, Ohio (Liz Bonis) -- It doesn't take long to figure out that with belly dancing, you get a serious work out of your core-- or body center muscles.

"I think when people first start they don't realize what kind of muscles they are going to use. And they use muscles they never even thought about using before," said Molly Shaker, coordinator for belly dance convention.

Watching the workshop you soon see that you get a serious aerobic workout, too, that gets the blood pumping

"It burns a lot of calories-- 500 to 600 calories per hour," said Shaker.

That calorie burn was part of the reason Amy Roberto got into belly dancing.

"It's designed for women to dance their whole life," said participant Amy Roberto.

This group is learning a stick fighting dance called syeedee, "a dance from upper Egypt, it's a men's dance," said instructor Aleya of Cairo, who is from Egypt.

You feel it "everywhere because when we shimmy, you just move," said Aleya of Cairo.

So how do you shimmy? "You are not going to bend your knees. You just go back and forth and back and forth. And you are supposed to feel it in your bum and your belly," said Aleya of Cairo.

Just like you can see a variety of skill levels, perhaps the greatest thing of all about belly dancing? "A lot of these dances have influences from different parts of the world-- like Reggae, Somba, Spanish-- so it brings a lot of people together," said Shaker.

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