5 Ways to Dance Your Way Fit


By: , – Alexa Cortese, Fitness Magazine
  :  71 comments   :  19,959 Views

Dance. For some, the word evokes memories of tutus and dreams of being a ballerina as a young girl. For others, it is an expression of self, a way of life or a fun way to get in shape. In fact, it can be all the above! Dance is a great way to have fun while exercising, to learn new things, and to challenge yourself.

Not the graceful type?  Not to worry. There are many forms of dance besides ballet, and a lot of the dance fitness classes that are offered at gyms across the country even combine culture and aerobics with dance to provide a unique and interesting approach at fitness! We spoke to Andrea Rogers, creator of Xtend Barre: Lean and Chiseled, and Kimberly Miguel Mullen, star and creator of Dance and Be Fit: Carnaval Workout for more information about five of the most popular methods.
Belly Dancing
Though the exact origin of belly dancing is unknown, it has been around in Middle Eastern countries for centuries. It’s low-impact, but still will challenge you aerobically. Belly dancing is great for posture, flexibility and your Shakira-style dance game! Plus, “hip exercises aid to relieve PMS and help in preparing for child birth and post-natal rehabilitation for rebuilding abdominal muscles,” adds Miguel Mullen. “Even though the movements are small and isolated, you will work your core muscles differently than you are used to so you will feel it the next day.”
Zumba is a form of dance that is influenced by a combination of many Latin dance styles (think flamenco, meringue and salsa combined with aerobics). It first came to be known in its current form in 1986, when Alberto “Beto” Perez held the first Zumba fitness class in Columbia. These classes became increasingly popular, and came to the United States in 1999. “Zumba introduces a variety of movement that requires a level of coordination of rarely accessed core muscle groups which forces the body to work harder and burn more calories,” Miguel Mullen says. Zumba is designed to keep your heart rate up and improve your strength, stamina, and coordination. And most importantly for long-term success: It’s fun!
Click here to learn more about Barre, Pilates and Hip-hop workouts.
More great stories:
What is your favorite kind of dance? 

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  • 71
    Jazzercise is an awesome dance workout! They are always changing up the music, you get all different kinds. And sometimes they work in a few oldies but goodies. Ocassionally they work in a circuit class. - 9/16/2013   9:40:28 AM
  • 70
    I love zumba. Although it is hard to find time to make it to class. I would like to try belly dancing. But maybe in private first. - 11/3/2011   8:08:52 AM
  • 69
    Belly dance has been part of my life for over ten years. When I dance, I deeply connect with myself. I tried zumba and loved it as well. I love to dance period. Dance is such a wonderfull way to get myself moving. - 11/3/2011   7:13:17 AM
    I love Zumba. I also enjoy my little jangle skirt, which is just like the one the instructor is wearing in the above picture. It adds to the fun of trying to move your hips. - 10/17/2011   9:16:24 AM
  • 67
    I want to try Zumba and fire dancing! - 10/13/2011   4:58:27 PM
  • 66
    Line dancing is my favorite. I'm learning to step. I exaggerate the movements and its so much fun; not like exercising at all. The times goes quickly and boy does the heart rate get up. - 10/13/2011   9:29:36 AM
  • 65
    I love them all, ZUMBA, BALLET, JAZZ, AFRICAN, HIP HOP MODERN!!! - 10/7/2011   6:25:38 PM
  • ANGIE21001
    I love Zumba it is fitness made fun! - 8/30/2011   9:56:21 PM
  • 63
    I'm so in love with ZUMBA!!!! Its all i talk about! I have the best zumba instructor Ruth and she really motivates me! I wish i could do zumba all day every day...I've lost 10 pounds in the last 4 weeks due to zumba! I'm so glad i found zumba because it leaves me so happy! - 8/30/2011   6:58:25 PM
  • 62
    I love dancing!!! Zumba is such a fun workout. I find the workout's on cable with on demand fit tv! - 8/28/2011   8:37:27 AM
  • 61
    Belly dancing! It definitely strengthens your core and improves posture and balance. It can be a pretty good workout, as well, if you dance to a faster song. - 8/26/2011   6:24:41 PM
  • 60
    Love to dance! My fav is Cardio dance Belly Dance but I've created my own Free Style moves off of 70's music & I am getting great results! Dancing uses most of your muscles & it is extremely fun! Thanks! - 8/26/2011   5:57:25 PM
  • 59
    Jazzercise all the way!! I love it! It's the only workout that I actually look forward to!! - 8/26/2011   3:49:32 PM
  • 58
    I love zumba. I go at least 2 times a week. - 8/26/2011   3:46:05 PM
    Jazzercise does it all! Always different music which keeps the workout fresh! - 8/26/2011   2:24:26 PM
  • 56
    LOVE the Zumba classes at my gym! - 8/26/2011   2:21:39 PM
  • 55
    I love belly dancing and Zumba! I also love African Dancing.... If you want a cardio fitness workout try an Afrfrican Dance class! My class was West African and was amazing! I prefer Belly Dance & Zumba as they are easier for me to follow as a blind participant. I just got a new DVD to try that has hip hop, African and Latin dance! I just love to dance! - 8/26/2011   1:43:02 PM
  • 54
    I love Zumba so much that I did a Zumbathon a week ago. I attend a Zumba class every week ... it is fun. At 65 I am having a great time. - 8/26/2011   1:33:26 PM
  • 53
    I can't work out in my top-floor apartment so I wish my gym would offer classes at decent times! All of the gyms around me offer these types of classes at night. Boo! - 8/26/2011   1:03:08 PM
    love Zumba at Curves! Wish the classes would be more convenient for me, but I try to get to one per week. - 8/26/2011   11:21:04 AM
  • 51
    I love dancing in all forms, but particularly Soca....think Carnaval, Trinidad and lots of body movement! The BEST by far! - 8/26/2011   10:47:01 AM
  • 50
    Zumba!!! I have a great instructor Anne
    She has me falling head over heels about the course. I have lost more than 17 pounds since adding Zumba to my fitness workouts last November! - 8/26/2011   10:45:39 AM
    I love dancing, right up my ally. - 8/26/2011   10:45:03 AM
  • 48
    I keep the Black-eyed Peas CD in my bedroom and crank it up before my shower. I do very exaggerated moves while I "dance" to it. One day my DH caught me. Felt like a fool but it's a fun workout! - 8/26/2011   10:11:54 AM
  • 47
    Dancing is SO much fun, even if your not "good" at it. I did Jazzercize years ago and loved it and I have been thrilled with Zumba at Curves, just my speed. I understand being self conconcious though and would recommend Dance DVD's you can do at home alone... I like YogaBootyBallet's Light and Easy... Hope this blog inspires many to try this from of fitness... It's FUN!!! - 8/26/2011   10:01:49 AM
  • 46
    I've always wanted to learn belly-dancing. Probably never will though, becuase I am not much of a dancer-I'm not too coordinated when it comes to that-and I'm too self concious. - 8/26/2011   9:35:11 AM
  • 45
    I line dance and am actually in a group who perform around the area....I am just going to start Zumba in a month or so...I tried it a couple times with friends, and wasn't sure if I liked it.....It takes different moves to line dance then to zumba dance...get's confusing...but I love to dance, so I am sure once I get Zumba, I will love it also... - 8/26/2011   8:03:49 AM
    I'm an old-fashioned girl. I favor the lambada. - 8/26/2011   8:01:53 AM
  • 43
    I have just joined my first Zumba class which starts in two weeks. I'm really looking forward to it. It's been several years since I regularly exercised with a class. - 8/26/2011   7:31:01 AM
  • 42
    I started dancing at 3 when my older sisters would put me on the kitchen table with Elvis playing on the radio. I always loved dancing. Today I love to Zumba! - 8/26/2011   7:12:16 AM
  • 41
    ZUMBA! - 8/26/2011   5:18:18 AM
  • 40
    Love Zumba! - 8/26/2011   4:28:11 AM
  • 39
    I discovered ZUMBA while flipping through the channels on TV. It was an infomercial for the Zumba CD set and I was hooked. I have never in my life done Latin dance but found the Zumba Gold(for seniors) just my cup of tea. I attend class once a week with the best instructor. I also purchased the DVD/CD set from the infomercial and have downloaded some of the CD's to my MP3 player. I even use them for walking music. Puts a different swing in the hips while walking!! - 8/25/2011   11:05:04 PM
  • 38
    I love to dance. And dancing for cardio is the most fun workout. I enjoy Zumba classes, I took belly dancing classes and just dance around my home for fun! - 8/25/2011   9:13:59 PM
  • 37
    Luv Dancing! I use Kinect dance games for my primary exercise. My faves are Dance Central, Zumba, and Michael Jackson. Dancing has helped me loose over 80 pounds since 1/11/11.
    - 8/25/2011   8:30:08 PM
    Today my favorite is Zumba

    Although bellydancing was fun, I did experience muscle awareness the next few days on the first attempt...then came more fun - 8/25/2011   7:52:09 PM
  • 35
    Zumba is awesome, have so much fun in the classes I take. - 8/25/2011   5:55:59 PM
  • 34
    I am absolutely IN LOVE with Zumba! I just did my first workout in July, and now I regularly attend classes AND own one of the DVD sets! It is fantastic! :) I truly miss my belly dancing studio in Chicago too! I haven't looked to see if there are classes in the UP for belly dancing yet, but I will have to soon! - 8/25/2011   5:32:16 PM
    My cable company offers on demand that has bellydancing... it's difficult but fun! - 8/25/2011   5:21:34 PM
  • 32
    I love dancing. Most of the summer I danced 3 times a week. Now I go twice, but that's more because my class times were switched around so 2 are on the same night. I do latin dance, and a word to all those that "LOVE" Zumba, try salsa. There are usually quite a few studios that don't require you to have a partner (I don't) and it's a great way to get out and meet people. Dancing makes you feel good about yourself as you get better and better. Ladies, chances are there's a hot dance instructor who will be more than willing to help you learn to look like the girls on Dancing with the Stars. :P - 8/25/2011   5:12:46 PM
    The assessment on belly dancing is so accurate, I first started a couple of months ago, after my first session my calves and arms were absolutely killing me!!!!! - 8/25/2011   4:44:36 PM
  • 30
    Irish dance is my favourite, though I can't do it with my arthritis. My son is an Irish dancer, though. Talk about exercise! For me, I love to square dance. I tried zumba and just hated it. - 8/25/2011   3:44:45 PM
  • 29
    I LOVE zumba! Just got hooked at age 60, so....definitely for anybody! You can also check out one of my instructor's videos on youtube under Stephanie Vedder. - 8/25/2011   3:13:03 PM
  • 28
    There are lots of ZUMBA clips on YouTube for free. - 8/25/2011   3:03:34 PM
  • 27
    Haven't tried Zumba or Belly Dancing yet, but I plan to! There's a Zumba class at my gym a few days a week and it's always packed. That's saying something for sure! - 8/25/2011   2:37:45 PM
  • 26
    Zumba is fun.. but i love my Country line dancing more. i get 8-12 hours of it a week. - 8/25/2011   1:42:32 PM
    I enjoy Zumba enough that I go four days a week. Each class has a different instructor and intensity so my workouts are varied and interesting.
    I have participated in belly dancing as well. I think I would have benefited more to one on one sessions and moved into a group setting. The workouts are amazing. - 8/25/2011   1:08:18 PM
  • 24
    I just a Zumba class last night - it was a blast ! - 8/25/2011   12:53:27 PM
  • 23
    I am SOOO loving Zumba! To celebrate and enjoy being a woman, we have a local gym called Diva Den in Portland OR that has a few other more... ahem... fun classes. Pole Dancing, Aerial Silks & Trapeze, Bombshell Boot Camp, Aerial Yoga, Samba Fusion, Boo-Ya Burlesque, Passionate Pilates, Cardio StripTeeze.
    I'll be busting out of my shell and trying some more adventurous classes soon! - 8/25/2011   12:41:43 PM
  • 22
    I have been doing Zumba, modern and country dance for a few weeks now. I absolutly love it! The classes are at my local YMCA so there is a lot of support. The instructor and the other students are really motivational. I reccommend dance to anyone that wants to have fun during their workout. It is tons of fun!! - 8/25/2011   12:20:48 PM

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