Dance as Exercise

It may just be creative movement to you, but to your body, dancing is a great workout.

When you take to the dance floor, you transform into a machine. Nothing matters except the next move, and every one is made with the ultimate precision. Or maybe your dancing style looks more like someone suffering a seizure, and you dread the thought of anyone ever seeing you bust a move. No matter what level of a dancer you are, your body can still reap many of the same benefits.

Starting with the Legs

Unless you’re dancing in a chair, your legs are going to get a fantastic work out when you’re dancing. Practically every move in the world of dance involves moving your legs, and the longer and more intense your dance is, the better work out you’ll give your thighs and calves.

As you move, pay attention to what makes your legs feel the burn best. Deep dips, high jumps, and powerful sprints across the floor will turn an average dance into an excellent addition to your exercise routine.

Moving into the Arms

While your legs are kicking and swaying, your arms should be doing much the same – and then some. Whether you’re dancing with your toddler, spouse, a complete stranger, or all by your lonesome, your arms should be working continuously. From tossing your partner in the air to creating poetic motion in the air, your arms have an opportunity to experience a unique test of endurance.

Don’t think dance is getting your arms in shape? Strap light weights to your wrists and keep dancing. You’ll definitely feel the burn after the next time you burn up the dance floor, and your arms will look great as a result!

Burn, Baby, Burn!

Now that you know dancing can help tone your body, there’s something else you may be interested to learn. Busting a move burns a lot of calories. How many calories can you expect to lose during a three-day dance-a-thon? There’s no telling. But you can find out how many calories you can get rid of in a 30- or 60-minute dancing extravaganza!

15 Minutes 30 Minutes 60 Minutes
Slow Dance
175 pound male
60 120 241
Fast Dance
175 pound male
110 220 441
Slow Dance
120 pound female
41 82 165
Fast Dance
120 pound female
75 151 302

Don’t Forget the Core

Without a strong core, your legs won’t move and your arms can’t flail about as you dance. Fortunately, your core can get a good bit of exercise as you enjoy an evening at the club, showing off your newest moves.
To dance your way to a strong core in an exotic way, try belly dancing. It may seem scary, but belly dancing is a safe and effective way for people of all shapes and sizes to get some fun movement into their day and wind up with a stronger core, which will help in all aspects of life.

Dance Safely

Because dancing can work out your entire body, you should treat the dance floor like the gym. That means starting slow, stretching out your entire body, and not getting out of control and putting yourself in harm’s way.
You should also maintain your body’s hydration by drinking plenty during your dance routine. And don’t rely on alcohol to keep you well hydrated. To stay properly hydrated, be sure to get adequate water before, during, and after hitting the dance floor.

How Many Can You Count?

Think you know your dance steps? Close your eyes and name off as many dances as you can think of, and have a friend check your list against the one below. If you name them all, you are Lord of the Dance!

  • Ballet
  • Ballroom
  • Belly
  • Break
  • Cha Cha
  • Disco
  • Foxtrot
  • Hustle
  • Jazz
  • Jitterbug
  • Line
  • Mambo
  • Menengue
  • Salsa
  • Square
  • Swing
  • Tango
  • Tap
  • Twist
  • Waltz
  • Slow
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