Want to lose weight, but don’t want to be a slave to the boring and mediocre workouts and the heavy gym equipment? Then look to dancing!
Dance is an art form that’s stood the test of time, and has become more and more popular as an aerobic exercise – perfect for almost any exercising routine.
Why Dance Can Help with Weight Loss
Over the recent years, dance has evolved into an effective exercise form for weight loss and physical fitness. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that all patients “be active and get exercise,” listing in their guidelines that dance, along with “take[ing] a walk, or join[ing] an exercise class” can help you prevent weight and health problems, including diabetes. Regular dancing also has the following health benefits:
- Burn at least 400 calories;
- Improve cholesterol levels;
- Regulate heart rate and blood pressure;
- Burn unhealthy fat.
Best of all, according to Health Magazine, dance cardio is “more than a fat-burning workout;” it’s also a fun way to “move to the music, let off some steam, and express yourself.” Depending on whichever dance form you choose, you’ll not only find enjoyment, but also healthy aspects in dancing.
Here are seven dance styles that you can try out today, so that you can have a fun and productive weight loss regimen:
1. Hip Hop Dance
BetterHealth defines hip hop as an “urban dance style” that involves “breaking, popping, locking and freestyling.” Mostly popular in nightclubs, this dance is known for challenging the entire body; and, anyone – novice or expert – can do this.
The name “hip hop” was given to this dance form, because as mentioned, it challenges the whole body, specifically the hips and waist, thus aiding to firm and tone the abs, and helping you burn around 250 calories (if performed for at least an hour).
Zumba is a mixture of other dance forms like salsa, rumba, merengue and hip hop, thus making it a demanding but suitable cardio workout. Many chain gyms offer Zumba classes nationwide, thus creating a fanbase over the years. People can enjoy this fun and convenient workout, which targets the arms, abs and legs.
According to the American Heart Association, if you enjoy dance, then you may want to consider a virtual aerobics class that includes dance moves,” since research suggests that “people are more likely to continue a fitness program they enjoy.” In that case, Zumba can be enjoyed in-person and virtually. In fact, Zumba classes are also offered either on DVD or online. For best results, Zumba workout should be done at least 2 to 3 days a week. That’s a good number of times a week to do such exercise, since The Health Science Journal suggests that “exercising every day of the week won’t necessarily help you achieve [one’s] fitness goals.”
Although it’s a slow-moving and low-impact dance form, ballet still plays a big role, when it comes to shaping your body. In fact, you have to have plenty of flexibility, in order to do ballet correctly, along with the right amount of strength and precision to master most ballet positions and movements.
According to the Health Science Journal, it’s recommended that you “warm up and stretch beforehand,” and to not “jump right into whatever workout you’re doing.” As you can see, with any other exercising routine, stretching is essential to prep for ballet.
The slow pace and posture needed in ballet is very similar to Pilates which, according to Prevention, takes into account the six principles:
… which “boost mental well-being.” Such concentration will not only help you build long and lean muscles that make you more flexible, but also help burn fat deposits in your body.
Founded in 1969, Jazzercise combines jazz dance and strength training to tone muscles and burn calories simultaneously. It also builds muscles during the workout, when you use things like barbells and dumbbells.
In some versions of this dance form, it may involve some classic Pilates and yoga movements which help lengthen muscles, while incorporating cardio boxing moves give your workout a more aerobic vibe.
And, as Jazzercise lets you burn up to 600 calories in one hour, this dance – should you choose to utilize this in your regular workout regimen to lose weight – should be done at least 2 to 3 times a week.
5. Belly Dancing
An exotic art form, belly dancing, or “raks sharki,” helps tone problem areas like hips, back and abs. It also involves slow and controlled isometric movements that help with flexibility and improve circulation. As you shake the belly, and work the hips, you be doing the following:
- Burn up to 300 calories (in at least one hour);
- Shape the buttocks;
- Burn thigh and abdominal fat;
- Strengthen muscles;
- Improve posture;
- Prevent back pain;
- Improve bone density.
You can practice belly dancing by watching videos, or joining special dance classes offered by gyms and dance studios.
Originating from Latin America, salsa is an intricate and exhilarating dance, and has recently gained immense popularity in night clubs and dance studios alike. Drawing inspiration from the dance styles of combia, bomba and merengue, it consists of a pattern of six steps danced over eight counts of music, while the dancer incorporates several turns, and side-to-side action.
And, as you do salsa for about an hour, you’ll burn at least 420 calories, making it a good part of a weight loss regimen.
Freestyle, also known as improvisation, is a dance form that is a “free, seemingly unstructured, less technically strict and impulsive form that draws inspiration from everyday dance practices and influences” (Wikipedia). In other words, this dance style lets you move freely without worrying about the dance steps or body movements, making it the easiest of all dance forms.
As such, freestyle dancing can be done every day for 30 minutes, if you’re looking to lose weight. Whether you’re dancing solo, or doing with a group of people that love to have fun to fast-paced music, freestyle can make a great experience for those who enjoy this dance form.
For many people, exercising can be challenging, especially when there’s a lot of time and commitment needed to pull it off. And, for those who are desperate to lose weight and stay healthy, finding the right exercise(s) can be a challenge in it of itself.
Fortunately, dance can save you from having to hit the gym hard, and struggle with heavy equipment. By trying out one or several of the seven dance styles listed in this article, you can not only work towards losing weight, but also have fun doing so.
But as always, consult your doctor before starting any workout, and see what types of dances are right for you. While you may not be able to master all of these dances (unless you have the skill and commitment), keep in mind that everyone has their own preferences and their own skillset. So, don’t worry if you can’t master dances like ballet and hip hop.
So, why not be a dance guru, rather than a gym rat who’s a slave to the bench press or the elliptical? Instead, grab your dance shoes, and hit the dance floor today! Get in the groove and dance like there’s no tomorrow!
Kristin Herman is a writer and editor at Oxessays.com. As a health writer, she writes various articles on how people can use weight, and take better care of themselves with diet and exercise.