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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.


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  • MosLadder profile image

    Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

    Voted up! Not only does it work, but what a stress reliever :-)

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    Andrew 6 years ago

    I love dancing to Britney Spears' music, makes me feel so alive and full of energy

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    health store 6 years ago

    any form of dancing is great it helps keep you fit and healthy plus its fun

  • taigers12 profile image

    taigers12 6 years ago

    Might I suggest the Wii game Just Dance? My sister got it for her birthday, and she seems to get quite a workout playing it. Plus, her and her friends get a kick out of it as well :)

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    Karey Akai 7 years ago

    Well i teach dance and i love it but i eat every minute of the day, if you are fat so what, you can burn off thoughs calories! dancing is a great excersise

  • Katrina Ariel profile image

    Katrina Ariel 7 years ago from The Highlands of British Columbia, Canada

    Dancing is an excellent and fun way to workout! And you don't even have to leave the house if you don't want. Put on some music that gets you moving and Dance! Shut the blinds if you're afraid someone will see. "Dance like no one is watching" - it feels great! :)

  • lowerabworkout profile image

    lowerabworkout 7 years ago

    I am trying to get my readers to take up a little dance as part of their lower abs workout regime. I keep telling them how good it is for them, but you know how it is - many of these boys are so macho and they think they look effeminate or something doing it! I mean, have they never seem Enrique Iglesias or what? I will just have to keep trying with them..

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    Karndt 7 years ago

    There is a new dance video on YouTube that promotes 30 minute of physical activity each day to prevent arthritis. It is in association with the Arthritis Foundation. Search Stop Pain. Start Dancing.

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    Chuck 8 years ago

    i really have been affected by doing dance. i have been doing it since i was in 3rd grade and i love it! not only is it fun, but i have received a great deal of benefits: such as stress release, new friends, better flexibility and more! a great website to visit is if you wanna know more about the benefits of dance.

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    jw 8 years ago

    i agree, dancing is an exellent way to get in shape without feeling like your exercising

  • balletomanehk profile image

    balletomanehk 9 years ago

    There is much scientific research on how exercise can reverse the aging process, and dancing is a fun way to do it! : )

  • ninaredza profile image

    ninaredza 9 years ago from Malaysia

    I hate running, but I LOVE dancing! I scramble to get to the gym on time just to make sure I don't miss that latin class. One hour later, I'm a HAPPY camper!

  • Marisa Wright profile image

    Marisa Wright 9 years ago from Sydney

    Find a style of dancing you like, and you'll have so much fun you won't realise how hard you're working!  When I gave up dancing seriously, I gained a lot of weight very quickly - it simply hadn't occurred to me how much exercise I was doing, and what a difference it would make when I stopped.

  • profile image

    Fitness Black Book 9 years ago

    The thing I like about dancing is that you can push past the pain barrier when you hear a song that you really like. It is weird how the body works!

  • starbright profile image

    Lucy Jones 9 years ago from Scandinavia

    I agree with everyone - dancing is great fun and keeps you fit too.

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    Caitlin ;] 10 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

    IĆ°unn 10 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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