Do you love to dance? Dance is not only fun, but it’s a great way to stay in shape. If you don’t like to exercise or take fitness classes, dancing can be an excellent physical activity that doesn’t feel like a workout. Many find it much more fun than more traditional types of exercise, such as high-intensity interval training, cycling, or riding an exercise bike.
If you’re thinking about dancing as a way to burn some calories, you might just find it’s a great way to support your health and work towards your fitness goals.
Dancing And Fitness: Get Your Heart Rate Up While Having Fun
If you feel like you have jet lag all the time, or feel like you could sleep all day, you’re not alone. You know exercise is great for your health, but sometimes traditional workout methods just don’t seem that appealing. Dancing can be a great way to motivate yourself to get your heart rate moving.
Dancing delivers a lot of physical benefits. It helps improve balance and coordination and increases your strength. Vigorous dancing can also make a great aerobic exercise. Even dances performed at a brisk walk, such as square dancing, can provide benefits.1,2
What Styles Of Dancing Provide An Effective Aerobic Workout?
There are many different types of dancing that can help you stay in shape. A couple, in particular, hip-hop and Zumba, are excellent from an aerobic perspective.
Hip-hop dance, of course, is a style performed to hip-hop music. It’s a physically demanding form of dance, involving a lot of high-energy moves. Hip-hop dance is especially good for your abs since most of the movements entail moving the waist and hips.3
Zumba is an exercise fitness program predominantly inspired by Latin dance that will really get the heart rate going. It combines dance and aerobics, incorporating a wide range of styles. These include salsa, samba, hip-hop, mambo, and several others. Zumba is particularly noted for being a total-body workout, with moves focusing on flexibility and core strength.4
Dancing your Way To Mind And Body Wellness
Many types of exercise can benefit the mind as well as the body, and dancing is no exception. According to one study, hip-hop dancing not only reduced stress but also improved mood and increased energy.5
Another study shows that dancing might be able to help with certain physical declines associated with aging. The researchers believe that the social aspects of dancing, such as meeting new people and forming new friendships, could possibly support longevity.6,7
You Can Dance Almost Anywhere: At Home, In Fitness Classes, On Vacation, And More
One of the best things about dancing is that you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get started, such as say, cross-country skiing or buying a set of weights to work out in your garage.
Once you find a style of dance that fits, go online to see if there are any classes offered in your area. You’ll probably find a lot of options that will fit your schedule as well as your budget. There might even be a good chance you’ll find a class for free at your local community center.
But even though you don’t need a lot of equipment, that doesn’t mean dancing takes a back seat to any other form of exercise when it comes to effectiveness. Even ballroom dancing, which you might not think of as a particularly vigorous activity, can help you burn some serious calories. You’ll expend as much energy – about 260 calories per hour – ballroom dancing as you would through water aerobics or taking a brisk walk.8
The more intense the style of dance, of course, the more calories you’ll burn. It’s estimated that salsa delivers workout benefits somewhat similar to jogging. If you salsa, you might be able to burn as many as 500 calories per hour.9
How Do You Get Started Dancing If You’ve Never Done It Before?
Don’t be scared if you’re not used to dancing. You’re going to do it for yourself, not to impress someone else. If you don’t look like a pro right off the bat, don’t worry about it. One of the first things to do is to think about the different types of music you like the most, and the styles of dancing that would fit the best with your personality – as well as your body.
Look at some videos online to see how people perform the types of styles you might be interested in pursuing. If you think the moves are too physically demanding, go on to something else. Read books on specific styles to learn how they’re supposed to be done.
Carve out some space in your home so you can practice. If you can set up a mirror to see how you’re doing, go for it.
Above all, have fun. But don’t overdo it. Talk to your doctor first to make sure your body is up to whatever dance style you want to try.