Once seen as a type of activity reserved for only the richest of society with ambitions of becoming the next Broadway or West End star, nowadays dancing is fast becoming the most popular form of exercise, especially amongst women. People have been encouraged to get up and get moving by television shows including Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing With The Stars, making the exercise the fastest growing art form across the globe.
Whether it’s hip hop, the tango or the foxtrot, nobody can argue that more and more people are happily attending dance classes and fitness routines based around this expressive activity. In England alone, around 5 million people attend dance groups each year – and the number throughout the USA is likely to be much, much higher.
While dancing is undoubtedly a brilliant form of expressing yourself and is a wonderful art form to watch in action, if you do it regularly it can also be one of the best forms of exercise for losing weight, as well as keeping your bones as strong as possible, increasing your strength and developing your coordination. Other benefits include improving your posture and increasing your balance, making it one of the most versatile exercises when it comes to tackling a number of different body areas.
As well as the physical benefits, many people find that they can reduce their stress levels through the medium of dance , making it an excellent choice if you’re finding yourself under a little bit of mental pressure with no way to relieve it. Dancing often involves meeting others and having a good time while working out, which is probably the reason behind its stress-reducing attributes.
You might be considering taking up dancing as a form of exercise, but are worried that you won’t be burning as many calories as you would be in more traditional forms such as running, swimming and cycling. Dancing does compare well against these exercises, although running still manages to take the top spot. Take a look at how many calories a person weighing 9.5 stone (or 60kg) would burn in 30 minutes through some of the most popular exercises:
Running at 6mph – 300 calories
Swimming at a slow crawl – 240 calories
Cycling at 13mph – 240 calories
Tennis – 240 calories
Aerobic Dance – 195 calories
Fast Walk at 4mph – 150 calories
As you can see, if you find running too difficult or harsh on your knees and aren’t a very strong swimmer, you probably won’t be able to find many better exercises to help the health of your mind and body than aerobic dancing. While it’s not the heaviest calorie-burner, the fact that you’ll be having a lot more fun than normal while taking part means you’ll want to carry on for longer, which will actually increase your overall calorie burn.
Make sure you pick up some comfortable dancewear to ensure you’re able to keep your heart rate at its optimum level for as long as possible, since if you let it drop too low you will lose the positive effect of the exercise itself. Most of all, don’t put too much pressure on yourself at the beginning of your dancing ‘career’ – and remember to have fun!
A passionate dancer, Laura Watson loves educating newcomers to the art about how beneficial it can be to weight loss and overall health.