Sometimes getting in your workout can feel like a chore, especially if you aren’t in the mood to hit the treadmill for half an hour or do the same lineup of resistance machines you did last week. Here’s some good news for you. No one ever decreed that fitness had to be boring or repetitive. One great way to spice up your workout routine is to try a dance fitness class.
Most gyms offer an array of different dance classes, from hip-shaking Zumba® to sweat-dripping Hip Hop Groove, soul-reviving Body ConfiDANCE, and more. Dance fitness is an excellent way to rediscover your groove while burning serious calories and making new friends. Can you rock your way to a stronger, more toned body? You bet. Here are just 10 reasons why you should add dance fitness to your workout schedule.
1. Anyone Can Do It
Trying a new fitness class can feel intimidating, especially if you are new to exercise or returning after a long fitness hiatus. The beauty of dance fitness classes is that most of them are highly accessible and open to all fitness levels. During the class, the instructor will explain and showcase each movement so that you know exactly what to do. You can also choose to modify the movements to make them easier or more difficult. For example, dancers with sensitive joints may prefer to skip jumps and stomps. More seasoned dancers can add additional steps or exaggerate movements to get a better workout.
Just make sure you review the class description carefully before signing up. Some dance classes may include more advanced moves and may not be the right fit for every type of dancer.
2. Easy to Learn
Trying a dance fitness workout isn’t like signing up for Dancing with the Stars. You won’t be expected to learn intricate choreography or advanced techniques that take years to master. Instead, most dance fitness classes include easy-to-learn moves that are adapted from popular dance styles. Dance fitness classes are actually a great way to dip your toe in exciting new dance styles, like salsa, Polynesian-inspired hula, hip-hop, and more. While it may take you some time to get used to the moves during the first few classes, you’ll pick them up quickly and be dancing your heart out in no time.
3. Serious Cardio Endurance
Fun and fit are not mutually exclusive, as any dance fitness experience will quickly teach you. The point of the class is to move, which will help you build up your cardio endurance. As you dance, you’ll challenge your heart and lungs to keep up. Over time, your cardio system will become more efficient, and you’ll notice that you can dance longer and faster before feeling out of breath. This cardio endurance can help you improve in other cardio workouts, like jogging, cycling, and swimming. (Learn more about the difference between anaerobic and aerobic exercise.)
4. Great Caloric Burn
It takes calories to swivel your hips, pump your arms, and tap your feet, which is why dance classes will give you a serious workout. The American Council of Exercise (ACE®) commissioned a study to evaluate a specific type of dance fitness called QiDance and discovered that study participants burned an average of 433 calories over the course of the 52-minute dance session. That works out to roughly 8 calories burned per minute. That’s not a bad burn rate at all. Keep in mind that certain movement-based classes that focus on slower movements, such as Tai Chi or Les Mills Bodyflow®, may burn fewer calories. Still, no matter which dance class you choose, you’re sure to burn a big chunk of calories, which may help you hit your overall fitness goals.
5. Improved Coordination, Balance, and Body Awareness
The first few times you try dance fitness, you may struggle to keep up with the instructor. This is completely normal, everyone has been a beginner at some point! Over time, however, your brain and body will adapt. Suddenly, the movements will seem simple and intuitive. You won’t bobble on spins or forget your footing. That’s because your brain is adapting. A systematic review of dance-related studies found that dancing changes the structure of your brain, including areas related to motor control and communication within the brain.
It’s no surprise, then, that dancing can help you improve your coordination, balance, and overall body awareness. In fact, certain types of dance classes, including Hot Fusion® and Werq®, incorporate elements of flexibility and balance training into each session.
6. Improved Muscle Tone
Most people don’t think of strength training when considering a dance fitness workout, but you can’t move your body to the groove if you don’t use your muscles. Dance often incorporates movements with a large range of motion, which activates muscles throughout your body. Perhaps more than any other muscle group, your core will get an excellent workout in most dance fitness classes, particularly if you choose hip-focused classes, like Zumba®, Belly Dance, and Hot Hula. Other dance classes, like EDM Fitness®, incorporate strength and conditioning into their dance routines.
7. Strong Bones
Moving your body, especially through dance, can help protect your bone health, which is especially important for post-menopausal women. Any time you place weight on your bones, even if it’s a side shuffle or a knee kick, you are helping to maintain your bone density, which can help prevent osteoporosis and other bone problems. If you already suffer from joint or bone issues, consider choosing a low-impact class, like Zumba® Gold, or a body flow class.
8. Stress Relief
Research has found that most forms of exercise, but especially cardio exercise, can help relieve stress, as well as anxiety and even depression. When your body moves, your brain releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These “happy brain” chemicals can help boost your mood and your sense of well-being. If exercising is the last thing you want to do today, sign up for a dance workout. Once you start moving, you may feel your mood begin to lift and you’ll be glad you got yourself to the gym.
9. Make Social Connections
Taking any type of class will introduce you to a social circle of new people who all care about their health and fitness, just like you. By working hard, sweating, and making it through the class together, you will naturally begin to build a bond with your classmates, especially if you take the same classes each week. These friendships can help make your dance workout more enjoyable and keep you accountable. After a while, your new dance buddies will notice if you miss a class and may call you out on it!
10. It’s Just Plain Fun
Why should you try dance fitness? How about because every class is a huge amount of fun? Where else do you get permission to let loose, groove to the beat, and dance like nobody’s watching? Dancing is part of the human tradition that transcends time and culture. Almost every civilization in the world has danced to celebrate, connect with their community, and show joy. Now, you can invite this ancient tradition into your life and use it to improve your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Don’t worry about what anyone else in the class thinks. Just move your body to the beat and feel self-love and joy. In this way, dance fitness classes can give you so much more than just a workout.
Ready to Sign Up for a Dance Fitness Class Near You?
Interested in trying a dance fitness workout? You have a lot of options. Many gyms and dance-specific companies offer online dance classes if you’d rather start out at home. This can be a safe place for you to begin learning basic movements if you haven’t danced much or feel uncomfortable dancing in public. As you gain more familiarity with dance and become more confident, you may wish to try dance fitness in person. Many communities include dance fitness studios. Though these studios offer a good workout, they can also be expensive and may only focus on a singular dance style which limits your learning options.
If you want more dance options plus different fitness opportunities, all while saving money, consider signing up to EōS Fitness. Each location includes a wide collection of workout equipment and tons of great group fitness classes. You’ll get to test different dance workout styles as well as other types of workout classes, all for a very affordable monthly membership. Check out the different dance fitness classes and find an EōS Fitness near you.