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Dance Exercise: Dance and Lose Weight

Everyone has heard about the obesity epidemic in the United States, but the problem is even more widespread than most people understand. Approximately 36.5 percent of American adults are obese, with another 32.5 percent considered overweight, which means that nearly 70 percent of American adults are either overweight or obese. Carrying extra pounds puts people at increased risk of experiencing serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, among other conditions, which means that maintaining a healthy bodyweight is critical if you want to live a long, healthy life. Most people have tried to lose weight, or tried sculpting and toning your muscles at some point or another, so we all understand how difficult it is, especially when you have a substantial amount of weight to lose. If you’re not a naturally active person, the thought of spending hours at the gym and forgoing all of your favorite foods is enough to quit your weight loss journey before it begins. We’re going to let you in on a little secret, though: trying to torch calories doesn’t have to be boring, and it can actually be fun! Dance exercise is one of the most effective workouts there is, and dancing comes naturally to us. If we told you that you could burn calories, up to 400 in an hour and actually enjoy yourself at the same time, wouldn’t that sound like a workout you’d be interested in trying? You don’t have to have a dance background to get started – just follow some simple guidelines to dance and lose weight! 

Choose Your New Workout

There’s something incredibly exciting about starting a new fitness routine, isn’t there? You’re fired up and ready to go on day one, and that newfound excitement will undoubtedly carry you for the first few days of your journey. However, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you’ll need something that you not only can stick to for the long term, but that you’ll actually enjoy. That’s why it’s so important to stop and think before you pop any old dance video into the DVD player! 

The first thing to consider is your goals. Assuming you want to lose weight, look for dance videos that are done at a fast pace, like hip-hop or Figure8. These videos will focus on cardio fitness, which means you’ll work up a sweat quickly and start torching those calories from the beginning. With that being said, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so make sure to take your current level of fitness into account as well. If you don’t have a dance background or are significantly out of shape, make sure to look for videos specifically marketed to beginners. Beginner dance videos for your cardio workout will take you step-by-step through each dance move individually before putting them all together into a dance routine, which will help you get the hang of things. On the other hand, if you’re already fit or have a dance background, you can start with more advanced videos that will get your heart rate up quickly. It goes without saying that you’ll also want to consider the kind of music that you like when choosing a dance fitness video! Whether it’s  hip-hop, tabata, bollywood, belly dance, merengue, country music, Figure8 dance classes, Latin dance, or reggaeton, there’s a workout out there that you will enjoy. You’ll also need to take into account any injuries or physical limitations that you may have. Many videos offer modifications for certain upper or lower body dance moves so that you can still follow along with the steps. 

Get Ready to Groove

One of the best things about dancing as exercise is that you don’t need any special equipment to do it, especially when you’re doing at home workouts! Although you don’t need to run out and purchase tap shoes, there are a few things that will help you get started and stay comfortable while you explore your new routine. First, make sure you have a pair of comfortable, non-slip shoes that won’t cause blisters. Most people wear sneakers or running shoes, but anything that offers good support and won’t slide out from underneath you while you samba will work. You’ll also want to wear clothes that allow you to move freely. You’ll be stretching and spinning up a storm, so make sure that the clothes move with you and aren’t constrictive. You’re likely to get pretty sweaty if you’re trying to get your heart rate up and lose weight, so if you have moisture-wicking performance or athletic clothing, that’s even better, but it’s not required. Anything that you don’t mind sweating in will do! Speaking of sweating, you’re going to need to make sure you stay hydrated during your workout. Keep a water bottle nearby and take regular water breaks throughout the video. Whether you choose to use a DVD player or stream the best dance workout video from your laptop, you will need a device to play your new favorite workout video. Additionally, you’ll want to get set up in an area with plenty of space. You might need to push some furniture out of the way, but having space for big movements means you’ll be able to get the most out of your workout.

Factor in Food

As much as most of us would like to avoid it, the reality is that losing weight rarely happens by just exercising. Our diets play a major role in our weight loss, and in order to lose any significant amount of weight, you’ll need to factor food into the equation. First, it might help to think of food as fuel to power you through your dance tutorial workouts. If you want your car to run its best, you put the right type of gasoline in it, don’t you? The same goes for our bodies. You can’t put regular gasoline in a car that requires diesel and expect it to run smoothly, so don’t expect to eat a bunch of junk and processed foods and then feel great during your workouts. The good news is that eating healthier doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, it’s better to make small changes that you can stick with over time, like swapping out your typical lunchtime sandwich for a salad, or cutting back on your soda intake. Counting calories is also a huge help when it comes to losing weight. Free apps like My Fitness Pal will help you determine the right amount of calories to eat based on your age, gender, height, and activity level, and you can log your meals inside the app. 

Develop Discipline

Motivation is what helps us get started on a new fitness journey or workout routine, but discipline is what makes us keep pressing play even on the days when dancing is the last thing we want to do. That’s why it’s so important to develop discipline and learn to stay consistent in your new routine. That doesn’t mean you have to work out every day; in fact, the American Heart Association recommends getting in 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week or 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, which equates to five moderate 30-minute workouts per week or five vigorous 15-minute sessions. If you have trouble staying on track, try scheduling your workout into your phone or calendar and treating it like you would any other appointment.  Make sure you include time for a warm-up and cool down to give your body time to get ready to workout and also to recover. If you prefer to workout fewer times per week for longer periods of time, still try and incorporate a little bit of activity into your routine each day, whether it’s taking the stairs, parking a little bit farther away from the store entrance, or going for a family walk after dinner.