Fitness Articles

The Most Fun You'll Ever Have Burning Fat

Dance Your Way to Health & Fitness

By Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer         
Page 1 of 2
If you’re looking for a new way to jazz up your fitness routine, why not try dancing? With the popularity of TV dance shows these days, there’s never been a better time to put on your dancing shoes. Why should celebrities have all the fun?

Even though you’ve probably danced a little here and there, you may not have considered it to be "real" exercise because it’s so enjoyable. This element of fun is exactly what makes dancing such a great way to get in shape—if you like it, you’ll do it more often.

Experts recommend 60 minutes of exercise each day and dancing can be a heart-healthy aerobic workout. If you pick up the pace, you can burn as many calories as walking, swimming or riding a bicycle. Besides being fun, each dance step you take counts toward your "daily 10,000" (the amount of steps experts recommend taking each day for general health). In one study, researchers attached pedometers to square dancers and found that their steps covered nearly five miles in a single evening of dancing.

Reason to Put on Your Dancing Shoes
Treadmills and exercise bikes are great ways to get in shape, but your body can quickly get used to the technique—meaning you begin to see fewer results over time. Dancing, however, is multi-directional and forces your muscles to move in new ways. If you’re doing the foxtrot, you’re taking long, graceful steps backwards, for example—a move you’d never make running on a treadmill. By working your muscles in new ways, dancing can help you get over or prevent that dreaded plateau (when you stop getting results from your fitness routine).

And while it’s easy to zone out on the treadmill for thirty minutes without paying attention to the sensations in your body, dancing is different because it stimulates your mind during the entire session. You have to pay attention to your steps at all times and anticipate your next move, which keeps you connected to your body the entire time, without getting bored.

This mental connection may be just what you need to stay sharp into your senior years too. A 21-year study of senior citizens, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that frequent dancing offered the greatest protection against dementia—a phenomenal 76% reduction in risk as compared to other physical activities like golf.

Not only does dancing increase blood flow to the brain, the social aspect of dance reduces stress, depression and loneliness. The need to memorize steps and work in sync with a partner also provides a mental challenge that keeps the mind active.
Continued ›
Page 1 of 2   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • I've done ballet on and off a lot throughout the years. Unfortunately, I've never had enough time to pursue it. I loved it while I was I able to do it, though. - 10/8/2012 11:16:18 PM
  • I think I'm going to be taking dance classes this fall. I'm so excited! Dancing around in your room to your fav songs is pretty fun too because there is no one to judge you and you can let loose! - 6/16/2010 3:02:55 PM
  • i love doncind i dance for a company that does parades,competiti
    on,and prefomences its awesome!!!!! - 1/4/2010 1:28:58 PM
    I used to dance sooo much a while ago, but then i stopped for about 2 years and gained like a bunch of weight, but now i'm starting again and going to make a combination dance club at my high school next year!!!!!!!!! And i totally used to have a 6-pack ( but not anymore)!!!!!!!!!
    ! Oh! and it is totally fun and i would encourage more people to do it too!!!!!!!!!! - 11/16/2009 11:52:39 PM
  • i have this dancing with the stars video thingy and i have lost like 15 pounds on that and all i do is do 3lessons on my cardio fitness days and it works!!! haha!
    ~pEaCe To ThE wOrLd~ - 11/11/2009 4:47:19 PM
  • I love dance. Unfortunately there are no dance classes close enough to me & that I can afford. My school recently started a streetdance thing on a wednesday afternoon for an hour which is free, but I feel too self-conscious infront of classmates to go D:
    Looks like I'll be sticking to dancing in my bedroom! - 11/10/2009 7:45:45 AM
  • i love dancing . at my school we dance for an hour each day. we are now practicing for a recitle coming up in less then a month. dance really gets u moving and working out ur way to know for sure is if u do dance and wake up and start hurting the next morning!lol - 2/19/2009 6:58:41 PM
  • i absolutly love dancing and dont know what i would do without it. I would like to be one of the professional dancers onn dancing with the stars. - 1/29/2009 5:32:35 PM
  • i started dance this year @ my school we do high kick and jazz funk. it is so fun. i love it. we workout for 2 hours each day. this last summer i took a dance camp for 4 days and lost 2 inches off my stomach. so all i have to say is that dance can really make u work hard but its worth it. it makes you loose weight fast. - 1/13/2009 10:23:30 PM
  • CRYS15
    walmart has these dance cardio videos.they're like dancing with the stars stuff.
    its so fun. - 1/2/2009 10:11:03 PM
  • I LOVE DANCING! i never thought it could be that much better than running though... this is WoNdErFuL :) - 1/2/2009 1:24:52 PM
  • wow. i am so gonna take salsa dance now. or ballroom. dwts is like my favorite show, and now that i know exactly what dancing can do for you, i think i'll try it. besides, the treadmill is getting boring - 10/22/2008 6:37:22 PM
  • I love dancing and it really does help. I do some belly dancing and its really fun! - 7/20/2008 11:52:25 PM
  • i love dancing so im gonna dance more often knowing it keeps me healthy! - 6/7/2008 3:18:03 PM
  • Wow! I never realized that dancing could be so good for you! I'm def. gonna check it out! :D - 12/15/2007 8:18:48 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by June 14! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.