Start Dancing for Fitness
Dancing isn’t just a great way to enjoy time with friends — there are some serious health and fitness benefits too. Find out which styles of dancing are best for your exercise needs
Why dancing is so good for you
People who dance regularly always sing its praises, and no wonder: it’s a great way to boost your cardiovascular fitness, increase your overall wellbeing and even ramp up your brain power.
Dancing exercise involves plenty of movement that’s as fast and breathless as you want it to be. That means you get to burn calories, work on flexibility and get a cardiovascular workout. One study of people recovering from heart problems found that waltzing raised their heart rate more than regular exercise, and improved overall VO2 threshold and anaerobic thresholds — safely, from just 21 minutes three times a week. Another study discovered that ballet dancers had distinct advantage over non-dancers in bone strength, thanks to the specific loading that dance placed on their bodies.
How different dance exercises help your fitness
For weight loss: Zumba
For intense and sustained activity, Zumba classes are fantastic. The pace is such that you can easily burn around 250 calories in half an hour, and the sessions are social and easy to pick up by newbies.
For strength: Pole dancing
Pole dancing is basically a sequence of gymnastic body-weight exercises that work all the muscle groups: putting the routines together gives you a full-body muscle workout that strengthens your body — and you can even do it from home, or on your own.
For team players: Swing
Pair up with a buddy and get to swing classes: you’ll find that working in a pair helps with motivation, just like having a gym buddy. Because of the social and physical contact of swing dancing, your body will release stress-busting hormones that can have a big impact on weight loss. Find out more here.
Can nutrition help you dance?
Dancing for fitness is great exercise, and like all exercise it can cause your muscles to exert themselves. After hard exercise, it’s common to feel a slight ache in your muscles: this is normally due to the muscle fibres developing microscopic tears which the body will fix by itself. Eating the right amount of protein in your diet can help maintain healthy muscles: try a convenient post-dance snack like Promax Bars to aid your recovery.
How to get started
Find a dance club or class near you by visiting Dance UK, a site that lists all the best places to get started.