It comes in many forms, but dance has permeated our culture and is a preferred form of exercise for many. Take Zumba®, for instance. Millions have accepted the invite to “ditch the workout and join the party”—the Zumba Fitness® marketing tag line. This Latin-inspired dance fitness program combines energized music and contagious dance steps that result in a “fitness party.”
Since 2001, Zumba has become the world’s largest dance fitness program with more than 12 million people—all shapes, sizes and ages—who dance their way to health in over 110,000 locations across more than 125 countries. It’s not the marketing that keeps people, though. They are continually drawn to Zumba because it’s a “party animal” way to stay toned, and they’re seeing amazing results.
If Zumba’s not your thing, then there are other dances to choose from, including ballroom dancing. That’s right. You can cha cha, samba, tango, rumba, mambo, foxtrot or waltz your way to better health. In fact, ballroom dancing burns an average of 265 calories per hour, and it’s a fun yet sophisticated way to keep in shape—whether you’re dancing with the stars or with your soul mate.
Or maybe you prefer line dancing. If so, then some favorites are the electric slide, the boot scootin’ boogie or the cha cha slide. And who can forget the infamous Macarena? (Hey, Macarena!) Not only do these line dances get you moving, but they also are fun to do with friends and are often favorites at wedding receptions and other celebrations.
For the less rowdy crowd, there’s always ballet. Because it works every muscle in your body from your fingers and stomach to your backside and legs, ballet offers an ideal way to gracefully get and stay fit. Surprisingly, Swan Lake-style ballet can burn around 400 calories per hour.
For the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers types there’s tap dancing. Not only does it keep you in shape, but tap dancing can also help your posture and strengthen your lower back. Add that to the 250 calories it burns per hour, and you’ve “tapped into” a winning dance routine.
No matter what dance suits you and your moves, one thing’s for sure. Shaking your groove thing is a sustainable, satisfying way to stay in shape because dancing is a:
- Calorie Buster: Slow dancing can burn 150-200 calories in just one-half hour, while a moderate tempo can bump those numbers up even more. A fast-paced dance, however, can burn up to 500 calories per hour!
- Heart Pumper: Dancing gets the heart rate in the optimum range within minutes, giving you that extra edge in exercise.
- Flexibility Booster: Dancing requires a lot of movement and motion that can keep your joints healthy and your flexibility where it needs to be.
- Mind Sharpener: Dancing can keep your mind sharp by memorizing steps, patterns, rhythms and routines as well as increasing blood flow to the brain.
- Strength/Bone Builder: Dancing gives your muscles a major workout, leading to increased strength and tone. Your bones benefit, too, because dancing is a fun, weight-bearing exercise.
- Balance Increaser: Dancing also improves your sense of balance and coordination. When you’re gliding across the floor, the inner ear and sense of internal balance can benefit.
If you haven't caught the dance fever yet, then you may want to give it a whirl!