Science Says You Should Twerk More Often For Your Health, Here's Why

Watching someone twerk is interesting. The way their buttocks seem to take on a life of their own and move in unison to the beat can make you want to join them on the dance floor. 

The origins of the dance can be traced back to the West African country of Côte d'Ivoire, where a dance called "mapouka" employed similar moves in the 1990s. Some maintain, however, that twerking should be credited to the neighborhood of Harlem in the 2000s. Despite its origins, pop stars like Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Beyonce, and Nicki Minaj, have made sure that twerking has remained mainstream and popular. So much so that now there are twerk aerobics and twerking certifications. 

Turns out, twerking might also be beneficial to your health. If you're looking for a go-to method of dealing with stress, embracing a booty wiggle-like twerking could help. Twerking instructor, Patricia Badin, told The Africa Report that the idea with the dance is to let go and let the energy flow through you. According to a 2011 study, African dances can be a channel of individual and societal healing from trauma. "We hold every experience we've ever had in our body, so being able to move may release something that we've been holding, tucked away in a muscle," clinical psychologist Angela Grayson shared with The Washington Post

Twerking can be a confidence booster

Certified twerk technician, Paula Árendášová, who also calls herself a twerking psychologist on TikTok, discussed the healing power of the dance in a TEDx Talk. According to Árendášová, letting yourself connect with your body the way you do while you twerk can be a celebration of your body and enhance feelings of self-acceptance and sexual confidence. 

For those who practice twerking, the dance can make them feel attractive, self-confident, energized, physically competent, and good in their own bodies, explained Árendášová. 

If you're thinking of adding dance to your workout routine, twerking might be a good one to choose. As explained by certified personal trainer, Caley Bohn (via Healthline), twerking is especially beneficial because it engages your core muscles. It also works out your hamstrings, lower back, and glutes. Bohn supposed that with a dance like twerking, you could be burning five to eight calories a minute, if you weigh 150 pounds, but consistency is key if you want to see results. All this to say, there is an art to the dance, as you've probably noticed when you watch the pros do it. Proper posture and movement is important if you want to reap the health benefits and not injure yourself in the process.

How to twerk properly

Badin told The Africa Report, "Twerking is a dance of isolation. You move your buttocks or your pelvis separately. The rest of the body is static." But twerking enthusiasts have found different variations of the dance. All you have to do is look the dance up on TikTok or YouTube and you'll see on-the-floor twerking, twerking with hand movement, and more. 

Once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier, shared twerk aerobics instructor, Brandon Coleman (via New York Post). "People are afraid of twerking, but it's inside all of us. Once you become in touch with different parts of your body, it [just happens] naturally," he explained. 

Begin by investing in the right kind of clothing. You're looking for stretchy and comfortable clothes that allow room for movement, per Today News Africa. Get yourself a full-length mirror so you can watch what you're doing and warm up with some light cardio first. The basic movement involves getting into a squat position (you can rest your hands on your thighs if you like), and trying to "throw your butt on your back," explained Árendášová in her TEDx Talk. You may want to be careful, however, of adding any kind of new movement-based exercise to your routine if you are out of shape or have any health concerns like lower back pain. Speak with your physician or work with a physical therapist and find what works best for you.