Dancing for Fitness: Does it Really Work?

Updated on March 2, 2017

Dancing for Fitness

On Friday night, take a moment and step into any dance club, what do you see? Arms pumping, feet stomping, and hips twisting. Often, dancing makes us feel so good, that we forget how beneficial dancing is for our bodies as well. While our stress and pains of the world melt away, as does our waistline. Dancing, experts say, burns calories, boosts energy, improves circulation, and tones muscle. Dancing can actually burn as many, if not more, calories as other, more traditional exercises, like running, lifting weights, or aerobics. In addition, dancing relieves tension and stress, improves your mood and serves as an outlet for your creativity.

There and almost endless forms of dancing, and everything from ballroom to ballet to hip-hop can burn calories and fat. The whole idea of dancing is to move your body, and as long as you are moving your health is reaping the benefits. Dancing has long been recommended as an avenue to fitness, not now it is more convenient than ever; many local YMCAs, health clubs and even neighborhood gyms offer classes in different dance techniques. Dancing also is convenient, you won't need expensive equipment or workout clothes, all you need is a willingness to have fun.

The Many Benefits of Dancing

One benefit of dancing is increased strength. When you dance you repeat movement over and over again, working the same muscle groups, this repetitive movement will strengthen these muscles. Another benefit is increased flexibility. The amount of increased flexibility will depend on the type of dancing, how most types of dance will add to flexibility. Yet another great benefit is a cardio workout, moving will increase your heart-rate and blood flow, not only aiding in cardiovascular health, but also burning fat. Lastly, dancing can create better coordination. Dance moves teach different muscle groups to work together, ones we don't always use in everyday activity, this will lead to increased coordination.

Dancing and Muscle Fitness

The muscle groups or areas of the body that dancing targets depends on the dance style. For example, Irish dancing will give you a lot of leg work, African dance will give you a lot of spine work depending on the form of dance, and in ballet you get a total body workout. All dance types work you mentally, because while your body is moving you are working to remember the choreography.

It Does Really Work!

Dancing will burn calories, boost your energy, improve your circulation, and tone your muscles, which will in turn lead to increased strength, endurance, and flexibility. However, like with any workout, you need to mix it up or your body will fall into a lull and you will decrease the amount of calories you are burning while working out. Try adding some weightlifting, another form of cardio like biking or walking, or perhaps just doing several different forms of dance.

Dancing can be a lot more fun than serious workouts and can lift your mood, releasing serotonin, which helps with weight-loss. Dancing relieves tension and stress, improves your mood and serves as an outlet for your creativity. Whether you jam to hip-hop, reggae beats or glide across the room in step with the Electric Slide, you're getting the job done. If you're moving to the music, you're practicing good health and fitness.

Finding the Right Dance Teacher

Type to find a teacher who comes recommended, either from a friends or a reliable source. If you workout at a gym where classes are offered ask members of the class (after they are finished) what the class was like and what the teacher was like. If you are going to take a dance class just for fun, you might not want to go to a teacher who is going to crack a whip on you or yell at you if you miss a turn. Also look for a teacher who is clear with their movements and who can explain something well. It is wonderful to find someone who inspires you right from the start. A good teacher also gives incredible individual corrections and can help a student change what they are doing wrong. If you attend class a few time sna find you don't like it, perhaps it is not the class and is in fact the teacher, so try another class with a different teacher, don't give up!

Finding the Right Dance Class

Types of classes are almost endless, so for someone just starting out it may be difficult to choose the right class. There are a couple of factors you will want to take into account. First, your music interest, if you enjoy the music that you are dancing to chances are the class will engage you more and your energy level will be higher (which of course will give you a better workout). Second, you need to take into account you level of physical fitness, if you just getting into working out you may want to start with a slower passed class, so you do not have to pause or stop during the class to catch your breath, as your physically fitness level increases you can that move on to faster pace classes. And lastly you need to take into account you dance skills, if you have never danced before, even if you are tip-top shape you will want to start with a beginner class, dance moves are different from other types of workouts and work different muscle groups along with having the challenge of learning choreography, start out with a beginner class and than move up as your dancing ability increases. Starting out in class with the wrong type of music or that is too advanced for your physical fitness level or your dance level, may turn you off from dancing, so be sure to think about it and make the right choice before you start.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    Caitlin ;] 

    12 years ago

    dancing REALLY is great for your body. plus you have tons of fun doing it. try making a playlist of all your favorite upbeat songs on youtube or itunes and dance continuasly to all of them...

    do this everyday and you'll be fit in no time!


  • profile image


    13 years ago

    dancing is an excellent way to keep in good health and you can even just dance around your house - it doesn't necessarily have to be an official class. however, given an opportunity, I would love to learn 'swing' dancing. nice hub.


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