Fitness Articles

The Most Fun You'll Ever Have Burning Fat

Dance Your Way to Health & Fitness

478SHARES
If you’re looking for a new way to jazz up your fitness routine, why not try dancing? With the popularity of TV dance shows these days, there’s never been a better time to put on your dancing shoes. Why should celebrities have all the fun?

Even though you’ve probably danced a little here and there, you may not have considered it to be "real" exercise because it’s so enjoyable. This element of fun is exactly what makes dancing such a great way to get in shape—if you like it, you’ll do it more often.

Experts recommend 60 minutes of exercise each day and dancing can be a heart-healthy aerobic workout. If you pick up the pace, you can burn as many calories as walking, swimming or riding a bicycle. Besides being fun, each dance step you take counts toward your "daily 10,000" (the amount of steps experts recommend taking each day for general health). In one study, researchers attached pedometers to square dancers and found that their steps covered nearly five miles in a single evening of dancing.

Reason to Put on Your Dancing Shoes
Treadmills and exercise bikes are great ways to get in shape, but your body can quickly get used to the technique—meaning you begin to see fewer results over time. Dancing, however, is multi-directional and forces your muscles to move in new ways. If you’re doing the foxtrot, you’re taking long, graceful steps backwards, for example—a move you’d never make running on a treadmill. By working your muscles in new ways, dancing can help you get over or prevent that dreaded plateau (when you stop getting results from your fitness routine).

And while it’s easy to zone out on the treadmill for thirty minutes without paying attention to the sensations in your body, dancing is different because it stimulates your mind during the entire session. You have to pay attention to your steps at all times and anticipate your next move, which keeps you connected to your body the entire time, without getting bored.

This mental connection may be just what you need to stay sharp into your senior years too. A 21-year study of senior citizens, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that frequent dancing offered the greatest protection against dementia—a phenomenal 76% reduction in risk as compared to other physical activities like golf.

Not only does dancing increase blood flow to the brain, the social aspect of dance reduces stress, depression and loneliness. The need to memorize steps and work in sync with a partner also provides a mental challenge that keeps the mind active.
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478SHARES

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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • I'm totally uncoordinated so I don't know that I'd ever dance. - 10/29/2014 8:39:52 AM
  • My daughter and I got jazz dance shoes for her birthday. We watch some of her movies which almost always have music in them, and whenever a song comes on, we dance. we also watch Michael Jackson's "This Is It", and a couple other videos we have of his, and we're not allowed to sit during it. Makes for a great workout! - 5/13/2014 5:34:44 PM
  • We used to square dance, such fun and a good workout. - 5/10/2014 6:00:33 AM
  • My great grandmother danced until she was almost 100. She was very fit and healthy to around 105, at which time she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She lived until 108, and was still in pretty good shape even then. So I think that dancing is probably very good for our health! - 1/10/2014 9:12:36 AM
  • I love to dance and I am going to get the hip hop tape and work these pounds off. - 6/14/2013 3:26:17 PM
  • 498194
    I started taking ballroom dancing last spring and I've been hooked since. Joined in without partner. Didn't care how goofy I'd look learning; that's why I signed up to learn. Over time became more comfortable doing the moves. Made friends with "classmates"; went out to practice as a group; still didn't worry about having no partner. Those who are serious about learning continue on. I guess I'm serious. :) BTW - lost weight and toned along the way. Awesome cardio. - 4/7/2013 2:24:46 PM
  • I started Jazzercise a couple of years ago, and it is the only exercise program I have ever been able to stick with because it doesn't even feel like you are exercising. It feels like a night out dancing with the girls! I love it so much, and have lost 19 lbs so far. - 2/19/2013 9:41:40 AM
  • There are some awesome dance games for the Wii also. I dance barefoot in my own home so zero equipment beyond a music source (or a dance game, or a youtube video. - 11/4/2012 8:47:28 PM
  • I love this article and it came at such a good time. My husband and I took our first dance lesson last night and are going to go back tomorrow night. We are learning the basic steps, rhumba and swing to start off and its so fun! Thanks for the great info here, it is great to get such a good health benefit from something that is so fun! - 8/16/2012 6:39:05 PM
  • SANDIBETTS1
    Dance yourself out of every "down" area of life--Kick up your heels for health. - 4/5/2012 6:16:54 AM
  • ICECHIPZ
    I've taken belly dancing at the Y for a couple years. Haven't lost any weight, but I now have a waist and I've toned up some... Added Zumba, love it but I can only do 2 songs at a time before I have to sit because my back starts hurting.. then it's back to dancing...

    What I want to know.. the calorie burn 380 for belly dancing and 400 for salsa/zumba... It's for a 150 pound person... So if you're 200 pounds, do you burn more? - 3/21/2011 10:01:36 AM
  • 2RICKIE
    As my husband no longer dances, I'm taking zumba classes. It's a fun way to get a different type of cardio! I also dance when no one is watching throughout the day! - 10/13/2010 11:34:17 AM
  • Loving my Ballroom and Latin dancing - lesson and Socials. Definitely notice a difference in muscle tone, self confidence and posture. Stressing with exams at present - final one of this series tomorrow night! Gnawing fingers for the past 3 weeks! - 10/29/2009 2:15:00 PM
  • MILES-2-GO
    I "dance like nobody's watching" in 10-minute spurts throughout the day! Each 10 minutes burns a minimum of 100 calories, gets the heartrate up, and breaks a sweat. :-) I've always loved to dance. - 6/20/2009 9:52:02 AM
  • about 5 years ago, I lost 10 kilos in 3 months, dancing like crazy in my room for about 45 mins. I also made sure I ate healthy meals. Urgh if only I could have kept away from the emotional eating which has led to me putting on all the weight and more back! This is a good reminder to restart my dance routine. - 5/12/2009 5:50:31 AM
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