Just Dance

Smiling people doing power fitness exercise at yoga classDancing is an excellent source of physical activity and provides many health benefits. Some of these benefits include the following:

  • better heart health
  • stronger muscles
  • better balance and coordination
  • stronger bones
  • reduced stress
  • more energy

The amount of calories burned depends on the type of dance. Ballroom dancing, for example, is a form of moderate exercise that burns about 260 calories an hour. On the other hand, Zumba is a form of aerobic exercise that can burn up to 500 calories an hour.

To get started, find classes at your local health club, community center, or dance school. If you don’t have a partner, many classes will find you a partner. Dance DVDs are available for use at home by purchasing them or renting them from your local library. Your local cable provider may provide channels as well. Or better yet, turn up the music at home and dance it out.



Mom and son dancingWhether you prefer to exercise in the privacy of your home or at your local YMCA, you’ll find that dancing is a great way to get your body moving! A person weighing 150 pounds can burn approximately 200 calories in 30 minutes with light dancing, such as ballroom dancing. More intense dancing, such as ballet, can burn upwards of 275 calories per 30 minutes of activity. Dancing is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Experts also say that certain dancing styles offer different benefits. For example, if you are looking to improve muscle tone in your legs and stomach, ballet or reggae dancing should be your choice. If you are looking to improve cardiovascular fitness, then tap, jazz, and African dance would be the best for you. The wonderful part about dancing is that you do not have to follow a certain style (e.g., ballet, tap, jazz) to get the health benefits. You can just pop in a CD, play the music of your choice, and start boogying in your living room!

  • If you have young children, get the whole family involved by having a dance competition. Have the children pick out their favorite song and let them create their own moves.
  • Want to try something new with your spouse? How about enrolling in a ballroom dance class? It may take a while to convince your partner that it will be fun, but once the class begins, it will be a guaranteed good time!
  • Check with your local park and recreation services to find where classes might be offered near you.

As with any type of exercise, it is recommended that you consult with your physician before starting a new exercise.

Adapted from: “Dancing Your Way to Fitness,” Ebony, Dec 1998

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