Too often people think they have to go to the gym and do a specific routine to get the benefit of exercise. While a focused routine specifically to address your deficiencies and needs is important, you can get exercise other ways too. After all, exercise is one means to get you healthy enough to live an active lifestyle. Many of my clients come to workout three times a week with me, but on other days, they participate in hobbies and pastimes that get their blood pumping. They don’t consider it as exercise, even though it is, but as the reason they exercise. You can do any type of activity, but I find that when you dance to workout, you get huge benefits you might not expect, no matter what type of dance you choose.
Dancing is a good cardio exercise.
While running for the same amount of time as dancing will burn more calories and bring greater cardio benefits, dancing is still good. In fact, it’s better than jogging. If you took a 30-minute dance workout class, it would burn anywhere between 130 and 250 calories, which is approximately the same as dancing. The difference comes in the actual amount of exercise you get. If you go to a dance club and dance every song in the set, staying standing between songs, you’ll get at least 40 minutes of workout for each set. That’s far more time working out than you’d get in a dance workout and probably more than you’d be able to tolerate jogging. It’s also just one hour of the normal time spent in a club.
Dancing improves your flexibility and range of motion.
When you dance, you’re training your muscle groups to do specific types of movements. The movements may be repetitive, but often they’re not and encourage the muscles to work in a number of different ways. It’s important to stretch your muscles before you dance. Of course, you have to try new things and work toward a more difficult level of dance. The longer you dance, the more you’ll notice that you can stretch further and further. If you’ve ever watched a dancer and thought, “Wow, I can’t do that and if I did, I would hurt forever.” The truth is that you can’t do that right now, but with continued practice, anything is possible.
You don’t have to go to a dance club or a gym to dance.
One of the best parts of dancing is that you can do it anywhere. If the weather is too hot to run or rainy, you can turn on the music and dance in the living room. If you’re too tired to start a run, sometimes turning on the music and moving to the music is far easier. Music provides the incentive to move that is more powerful than the thought of jogging through the neighborhood. In fact, just 15 minutes of dancing can get your blood flowing and prepare you for your morning run.
Dancing improves muscle strength and can help prevent osteoporosis, since it’s a good weight bearing exercise.
Dancing can burn calories and be part of your weight management program.
There are many types of dancing, each with its own benefits. For instance, ballet focuses on muscle strength and flexibility, while fast dancing to popular music or salsa dancing may provide more aerobic benefits.
No matter what age you are, you can dance. Even slow dancing provides a great deal of exercise, particularly for those who are out of shape.