Benefits of Losing Weight With Dancing

When you turn up the radio and groove out to your favorite tune, you're doing more than having a good time: You're also burning calories. Whether you do it alone in your living room or with your friends in a salsa class, dancing can be a way to burn calories, build muscle and shed unwanted pounds, resulting in a slimmer figure you'll enjoy working for.


Virtually any form of dance can help you burn calories and lose weight, and choosing a dance style depends on your goals and preferences. If you prefer to learn a formal style instead of dancing at home or socially, classes, DVDs and tutors are available to teach you basic moves. Hip-hop can be a comfortable dance to start with if you're a beginner, because this dance form tends to be less rigid than others and more forgiving of mistakes. However, advanced subsets of hip-hop, such as break dancing, are more challenging. Ballroom dancing -- including the foxtrot, tango, waltz, salsa, rumba, merengue and cha-cha -- involves mastering fundamental steps and intricate moves, and generally requires dancing with a partner. Jazz dance can help you get a heart-pumping workout but requires a high degree of flexibility and grace, and may not be suitable for beginners. If you're looking for a more elegant form of dance, ballet can help you develop poise and limberness while burning calories. Belly dancing is a popular form of Eastern dance that can be highly rewarding for weight loss because of its focus on toning your abdominal muscles.
Although any physical activity -- including dancing -- will burn calories, some forms of dance are more vigorous than others and result in higher energy expenditure. For a 155 lb. person, 30 minutes of ballroom dancing, square dancing or disco dancing will burn 205 calories; slow dancing, waltzing or foxtrotting will burn 112 calories; and fast dancing or ballet will burn 223 calories. The number of calories you burn during these activities may be higher or lower based on your body weight and how vigorously you exercise. Depending on the style, between eight and 16 hours of dance will result in 1 lb. of weight loss.


Unlike spending tedious hours on the treadmill or working out out at the gym alone, dance can help you lose weight and gain fitness while expressing yourself and having fun. Along with helping you burn calories, dance strengthens your lungs and heart, builds lean muscle, improves your flexibility, provides intellectual stimulation, enhances your ability to identify patterns, instills self-discipline and can boost your self-esteem, according to the National Registry of Health Educators. In addition, dancing can provide a way for you to socialize with your friends or meet new acquaintances in a dance club or class.


If you have any serious medical conditions, consult your physician before starting a dance program for weight loss, particularly if you want to learn a more vigorous and demanding style. Although most forms of dance are safe, some styles such as break dancing can be dangerous if attempted by an amateur. To avoid injury, seek the guidance of a professional instructor rather than learning such styles on your own.

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