'Dance your way to fitness', 'Ditch the workout, and join the party!', 'Staying fit by dancing' are some common marketing slogans dance fitness centres use to attract their clients.
Dance workouts have gained immense popularity in the last two decades as an excellent cardio activity. From Zumba centres to aerobic dance centres and even video games like 'Just Dance', all of them claim to help you lose weight through no other workout except dance.
For those who love dancing, it's a dream come true - to gain an athletic body doing nothing but dance would be the icing on top of the weight-loss cake. However, are dance workouts really that effective as a form of fitness and workout?
On that note, we shall discuss the pros and cons of dance as a fitness and workout option:
Fitness through Dance: What, Why, How?
Let's get down to it - dance is a physical activity, one that requires you to move your limbs and body, along with jumping, running and making a variety of other moves.
In short, dance helps burn calories. Exactly how much depends on the kind of dance, but on an average a good dance regimen can burn 150 calories in 30 minutes.
Dance also involves a lot of flexible moves we normally don't perform in daily life. Thus, an argument can be made for dance being an effective workout.
Just like any other form of aerobic or cardio exercise, dance has a number of health benefits like:
1) Helps build stamina
Aerobic dancing is very fast-paced, which means it increases your heart rate effectively. That boosts your body processes and makes you energetic. If done regularly, dancing can help increase your strength and stamina.
2) Facilitates weight loss
Research has shown that dancing can be an excellent way to burn more calories in a short span of time. If you maintain a calorie deficit along with regular dance-workout sessions, there's no reason for you not to lose weight.
3) Helps increase respiration efficiency
In this intensely fast-paced activity, your lungs pull in more air to fulfill the oxygen requirements of your body. That increases your respiration efficiency while maintaining your lung capacity. It also makes your diaphragm stronger.
4) Helps improve artery health
Dancing allows your blood vessels to pump blood to every part of your body, keeping the arteries clear. Dancing also helps keep your cholesterol level in check.
5) Helps tone muscles
Dancing helps in toning i.e. lengthening, strengthening and leaning up your muscles.
6) Helps reduce stress and anxiety
Dancing is not just a physical but also a social activity. It's a fun activity, which you can do in groups with your friends, family, partner, etc. You can also make new friends at your dance class.
It's also a known fact that exercise improves your mood. Combine the mental health benefits of both exercise and dancing, and you have an activity that will not just help you stay fit but also help you unwind and relax mentally.
As dancing is fun, it also helps you stay motivated throughout your sessions.
7) Helps boost memory
It's a simple thing - as you have to maintain the rhythm of your body with the beat of the music and also remember which step to do when, dancing can be an excellent way to boost your memory as well as mind-body coordination.
That helps your brain stay younger and helps avoid many age-related degenerative nervous diseases.
8) Promotes greater flexibility
Just like yoga, dance steps help increase your flexibility and keep all the muscles in the body working, easing joint pain and soreness.
9) Helps improve balance
A decrease in the ability to balance our bodies creeps up as we get older. Dancing can help improve balance in adults, by teaching their muscles to adapt to various dance poses.
Dance requires a lot of fast movement and good posture, which is why frequent dancing can help you stabilise and gain better control of your body. Overall, dance is a good workout option that provides many health benefits.
So, is dance really an effective workout?
Yes, dance is an effective workout option - but only if you are looking to burn calories, lose weight and stay fit. If your goal is to build muscle, dance is not the way to go.
Dance will help you improve your cardiovascular health and immune system, and lower the risk of sedentary lifestyle diseases like blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, helping you with weight loss.
It can also help you tone your muscles and also supplement your efforts to build muscle - but it will not directly play a role in building muscle. To build muscle, you will have to incorporate exercises like squats, crunches, lifts and strength training in your workout routine.
Poll : Which form of dance workout is your favourite?