Dance Workouts – What Counts? Health Benefits? How to Start?
You don’t necessarily need to be flexible or fit to dance. It doesn’t take a particular rhythm to dance. You can improve your flexibility, strength, and coordination by dancing.
What makes dancing a work out?
Truth is, it doesn’t matter if your heart rate increases and you start sweating in a hip-hop class at the studio or if you dance to your favorite songs in your living room.
However, professionals who are fitness experts may also create structured dance workouts to offer certain health benefits.
Megan Roup is a former professional dancer, ACE-certified personal coach, and founder of The Sculpt Society. The app is a dance cardio workout. However, even if you’re not looking to do so, hitting the dance floor with your friends or performing a chore in your living space can still be an enjoyable workout.
Many dance exercises are designed to improve muscular strength, mobility, as well as flexibility. Judson McDonald, a ACE-certified personal coach and group fitness instructor in Durham North Carolina, is currently a Les Mills International learning & development specialist.
These benefits might not be available to you if your only intention is to dance for fun.
The type of dance and the length of time you do it will determine how intense your workout. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), notes that slower styles of dance, such as many types of ballroom dance, often have the same intensity level as walking or other moderately intense workouts. Faster dance types, such salsa or cardio, can often be comparable to a more intense workout like jogging, swimming, or running.
Dance is good for your health
The body and the mind can reap the benefits of dance.
Roup suggests that to be able to dance well, both your brain as well as your body must be involved. This is particularly important for learning choreography and routines. “Your brain needs to be very focused,” Roup says.
This has unique benefits for older people. In a December 2018 review and meta-analysis, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Dance improves working memory, cognitive flexibility (the ability to adapt to changing events) and learning among older adults with differing levels of cognitive abilities. For older adults, moderate-intensity dancing is recommended.
People with neurodegenerative disorders may also find dance beneficial. Brain Sciences published a study in July 2021 showing that patients with mild Parkinson’s disease who attended weekly dance classes for three-years showed slower progression of symptoms than those who didn’t.
A Stronger, Fitter Heart
Dance is an aerobic activity that can increase cardiovascular health. According to an American Journal of Preventive Medicine study, moderate-intensity dance (defined as anything that makes you feel breathless or sweaty) was associated with a lower risk of heart disease death. However, dancing was found to have a stronger protective effect.
Improved Bone Density
Dance is also considered a weight-bearing activity that, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, can help maintain or increase bone density. In a small study, older adults diagnosed with osteoporosis discovered that dancing can even reverse the loss of bone density.
Are dance workouts good for weight loss?
Jumping, twisting, and shaking all burn calories. This could help you lose weight.
Harvard Medical School estimates that dancing for 30 minutes can burn around 90 to 252 calories. It depends on your style of dancing and your weight. A slow foxtrot, waltz, or foxtrot will burn roughly 90 calories per person of 125 lbs. However, a fast ballet or twisting style of dance will burn approximately 180 calories.
The Journal of Sports Science & Medicine published a study that found healthy women burned 369 calories in a 40-minute Zumba class.
MacDonald suggests that you should not lose weight simply by dancing and making nutrition adjustments. It’s better to have a certified personal coach and registered dietitian to help you integrate dance and other activities into your overall wellness goals.
How to Get Started with Dance Workouts
If you are new to dancing, it is important to slow down.
It is easy to adapt dance workouts according to your ability and fitness level. Even a chair can be used for dancing. Samantha Amway is an orthopedic clinical specialist at the Ohio State University Wexner medical center in Lewis Center, Ohio.
Roup advises, “If you are just starting out, start with smaller chunks of work and then build consistency until it becomes a part of your day.” Sometimes just 10 minutes a week is enough to make a difference in our energy levels.
Find shorter classes you can attend, either online or in-person. Many fitness clubs and gyms offer online and in-person dancing classes. There may also be a number of specialty studios within your local area. You can also download an app for dancing or search on YouTube for dance workouts.
Roup suggests that you start to exercise more often if you aren’t exercising regularly. Roup recommends doing two to three 10-minute to fifteen-minute dance workouts per day. As you get stronger and fitter, you can gradually increase the duration of your sessions or go to more challenging classes.
Amway suggests that you consult your healthcare provider before beginning a dance class to make sure you are healthy.
How to get more from a dance workout
You will feel more comfortable dancing when you are confident. Then, increase your intensity.
Here are some suggestions.
Increase the size of your movements. Focus on other parts of the dance once you are comfortable with the footwork. MacDonald explains, “For instance, in moves that require you to sit down into a squat position, how deep do you feel?” “In arm movements are you reaching out for clean, complete extensions?” Making small tweaks to your movement can increase range and challenge your control over the muscles.
Crosstrain. Incorporate different workout modalities in your routine. Straightline Dance Fitness Minneapolis instructor Molly Breen suggests strength training and activities to improve mobility, such as walking.
You might want to look for a class that is more advanced.
Nutrition tips for dance training
Prior to any dance training session, carbohydrates should be the first priority. Kelly Jones, RD, a Philadelphia-based specialist on sports dietetics, says that carbohydrates are the best and most preferred energy source to fuel muscles during exercise.
Eat a high-carbohydrate meal three to four hours before your dancing session. It should contain some fiber, moderate amounts of fat, and protein. Jones recommends oatmeal with milk and fruit, or banana sandwiches with peanut butter and banana with low-fat milk.
Look for high-carb snacks that are easy to digest if you haven’t eaten in a long time. Jones recommends eating a piece fruit, a small amount of granola, a granola bar or a handful of crackers or pretzels.
When you exercise, make sure to bring water. You should aim to drink three to four gulps of water every 15 to twenty minutes. Jones recommends that you bring a sports beverage if the workout lasts longer than 60 minutes. It will replenish your body’s fluids, sodium, carbohydrates and sodium lost due to sweat and intense exercise.