Whether you’re a sucker for a good waltz, a tango addict, or a fan of the foxtrot, dancing is a wonderful way to get your body moving and your weight losing. Ever since Dancing with the Stars first shimmied its way onto television screens nation wide, more and people are turning to dance as a way to work off those extra pounds while developing a new skill. So let’s put aside those worries about your two left feet and take a step towards the world of dance!
According to WebMD, dancing is a weight-bearing activity and good for building bone strength. It is also wonderful for your upper body and overall strength. As the contestants on the TV show attest, they’re often more than winded after their routines. One dancer in seasons past even lost 15 pounds over the course of the show. While most every-day average Joes who pick up dance won’t have a seasoned trainer with them every step of the way to whip him into shape so quickly, the fact remains that dance is still a great way to get in shape.
The amount of calories you burn will vary depending on the type of dance you’re partaking in. For example, an exuberant swing dance will lose you more calories than a more sedated box-step. That being said, adults are supposed to get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day. You’re more likely to stick with that goal if you’re doing an activity that you enjoy – like dancing.
According to Ken Richards, spokesman for USA Dance, new dancers often discover – and work – muscles that they never knew they had. For women, this is especially common as dancing forces you to move backwards much of the time. “If you’re dancing the foxtrot, you’re taking long, sweeping steps backwards. That’s very different than walking forward on a treadmill or taking a jog around the neighborhood,” Richards said. Ballroom dancing works the backs of the thighs and buttock muscles especially, making it the perfect activity for those looking to tone up their derrieres.
Dancing also helps out more than just your muscles. Increased blood flow to the brain during exercise means that dancers also often experience less stress and depression than non-dancers. Also, since dancing is a group activity, dancers are often less lonely than non-dancers. The mental challenges of dancing, such as memorizing steps or learning to work with a partner, are also often very beneficial for mental well-being.
Check your area for a dance studio near you. While the sticker price of lessons may initially turn you off, often a dance studio will offer a reimbursement program if you buy a lesson package – that is, if you pay for your lesson package up-front, they will pay you back a portion for each lesson upon your arrival at each class session. This guarantees that you will stick with a program. Some studios pay back up to half the initial cost! So don’t be scared by the fees associated and don’t get discouraged by your clumsiness. We’re all beginners at some point. I remember back in the prehistoric era, I couldn’t salsa to save my life.
Have your own dance experiences you’d like to share? Know a great studio that’s looking for new beginners? Leave your stories in the comment section!