Dance, meet, exercise and relax!
Dancing is a great way to stay fit and have fun at the same time. Regardless of the style you want to learn, a dancing routine benefits the entire body as it provides exercise for your heart, lungs and muscles. It also helps with balance and coordination. Dancing demands constant movement, thus promoting overall fitness to the body. A 20-30 minute dance workout is all it takes to improve overall body health, and you'll burn well over 100 calories.
The act of dancing puts a heavy demand on the body's energy reserves because it requires the dancer to move in all directions. Training for most sports specifies a repetitive action that involves rhythm and momentum. Dancing, however, does not promote a natural momentum. Instead, it requires you to speed up and slow down on your own while moving in irregular patterns. This puts a heavier demand on the body because of the spontaneous movements involved in dancing. Even somewhat relaxed dancing styles burn about the same number of calories as repetitive activities like jogging or cycling.
The intensity depends on the type of dance you choose. Styles such as hip hop and salsa require movements that are more demanding than slower styles such as tango or waltz. All of them will require you to utilize your whole body during the workout. There are many targeted areas of the body that dancing movements will affect.
Random vs. Rehearsed
The energy demands for dance styles that allow the dancer to improvise and move randomly in all directions are increased even more when compared to activities that require a constant and specified action. Nick Smeeton, a principal lecturer at the University of Brighton describes it this way,
"There is a lot of accelerating and decelerating in dancing, which the body is less able to do in an energy efficient way, movement in all directions."
If repetition is like running a marathon, then random movements are more like competing in a pentathlon. All the various movements that are needed to meet the demands of 5 events burns a lot more fuel without covering as much distance.
Yes, the results are in, and it's now widely accepted that dancing holds amazing benefits for the mind and body. Dancing increases cardio, raises moods and improves social skills. Studies have suggested all this to be true, and there's no restrictions to gender, age or background. Whether it's a spontaneous style or a rehearsed style, all forms of dance are a positive, constructive and healthy way to improve aspects of your life.
The details for the chart below came from the Fitness Blender. All estimations vary according to weight, muscle mass, gender, and intensity of effort. The figures are calculated for individuals weighing between 120-190 lbs.
|Hip Hop||370-610||60 min.|
|Belly Dancing||270-320||60 min.|
If you dread the thought of driving across town to the gym or studio, stay home instead and shake it up in your living room. Torching those unwanted calories can be done right in front of your TV screen with an instructional hip-hop video. Or how about a 20-Minute STRONG by Zumba Cardio and Full-Body Toning Workout?..
"Dancing as a workout is a great way to stay fit. Dancing is total fitness because it offers a whole-body alternative to regular exercise!"
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