Are you hooked on Strictly Come Dancing or Dancing with the Stars? Do you practice some of your favorite dance moves as you sashay across your living room? And do you find yourself dancing while brushing your teeth, washing the dishes or for just about any reason at all?
If you love to dance, you can incorporate dancing – everything from the rumba to Zumba, from line dancing to ballroom dancing – into your regular health and fitness routine. Whether you are looking to lose weight, tone up, meet others or simply stay active, you can dance your way to better long-term health and wellness.
Zumba burns calories, builds muscle and will strengthen your cardiovascular system – not to mention that it’s a lot of fun. Fitness experts recognize that people tend to stick with activities that they enjoy, which is why dancing is such a great part of a healthy fitness routine – it’s certainly more enjoyable than endless hours on the elliptical machine.
Whether you like to Zumba or cha-cha, you will be increasing your heart rate (strengthening your heart and burning calories), building bone strength through weight-bearing movements, strengthening your core, legs and arms, building stamina, and even boosting your brain: A recent study in The US New England Journal of Medicine followed almost 500 people who were age 75 years and older, none of whom had dementia at the study’s outset. Five years later, 124 of the participants showed some signs of dementia, however, frequent dancers decreased their risk; and among 11 physical activities the group engaged in, dancing was the only one that was linked to a reduced risk of dementia. The mental component of zumba dancing – learning new moves and steps – may be the key.
When you dance, you will discover muscles that you didn’t even know you had. In addition, dancing can reduce stress and fatigue and increase happiness and self-confidence, bolster balance and coordination, create a sense of connection to your body as well as a social connection to your dance partner or dance friends. It can be a lifestyle as much as an exercise program. Depending on your size, fitness level and the type of dancing you do, you will likely burn 300 to 800 calories an hour and easily satisfy the international guidelines for physical activity. With Zumba calories aret burnt very efficiently.
Likewise, you can dance as a family activity, as a way to meet others or as part of a class at your local gym or community center; you can also order dance DVDs to try out in the comfort (and privacy!) of your own home. Dancing is an accessible health and fitness option that can make you feel great from the inside out. It is a celebration as much as physical activity.
So whether it’s belly dancing, pole dancing, Zumba, fox trot, jive, jazz, Irish jig, ballet or waltz, there is a dance style for everyone’s interest, ability level, budget and health and fitness needs. Let your hair down, check your ego at the door and have some fun while getting fit through dance!