Dance Your Way to Better Fitness
We dance to celebrate; we dance to express ourselves; but we can also dance to improve our conditioning and to get into better shape. Dancing — whether it be hip-hop, tango, or jazz —is an excellent form of aerobic exercise that’s easy to do and accessible to all ages, abilities, and fitness levels. Even the US Department of Health and Human Services is on board, citing dancing as a useful way to help meet the physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity.
Plus, if you work on your skills, you’ll be able to impress friends and family at the next shindig.
The flowing movements and moderate pace can help individuals better their coordination, agility, and flexibility, while also increasing muscular tone, endurance, and overall fitness. And for older adults, dancing can be a terrific way strengthen bones and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. But dancing is also a workout for the mind, requiring focus, concentration, and determination in order to correctly execute the proper choreography and form.
Using dance as a form of exercise comes down to intensity and range of motion. The average 30-minute dance class can burn between 130 and 250 calories, which is about the same number of calories burned as jogging. Fast moving styles of dance like hip-hop, jazz, or salsa are more likely to raise your heart rate, but all styles of dance will target your core, arms, legs, glutes, and back to varying degrees. One study even found that dancing can help with the health, body feeling, and functional mobility of patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Like learning any other art or skill, it’s normal to be a little nervous before starting any dance classes or new choreography. To overcome any pre-dance jitters, embrace the fact that you are capable of expressing yourself through movement, and be grateful for the ability to by physically active. Dancing reminds us of the energy within ourselves; and every time we start playing music and moving to the beat is another way of celebrating of our health and wellbeing. Use this Monday as an excuse to turn up the tunes and get moving.