What Does Dance Improve?
What is it that makes dance such an effective workout? A big piece of the puzzle is that dance touches nearly every area of the body and is filled with lots of different movements rather than one repetitive motion. Dancing is such a well-rounded exercise because it focuses on the following:
- Improving posture
- Improving overall core strength
- Increasing stamina and cardiovascular health
- Building strength without straining the joints
- Toning and sculpting your muscles
We’re so focused on losing weight and building muscle with our workouts that we often forget one of the most important elements of a healthy body – great posture! Dancer workout DVDs will often emphasize movements that improve posture, such as pulling your shoulders back, growing long through the spine, and working your core, which helps you sit and stand up straight.
Improving Overall Core Strength
Think you have to do thousands of sit ups to get the core of your dreams? Think again! Dancing is one of the best core workouts there is thanks to all of the twisting and turning that you do on the dance floor. The core includes your transverse abdominis (the deep layer of the core), rectus abdominis (the six-pack), internal obliques, external obliques, and your back, and the twisting and turning motions in every dance routine strengthen your core while mimicking the natural movements of the body.
Improving Stamina and Cardiovascular Health
You might have noticed that the dancers on your favorite television shows are out of breath when they finish their routines, and with good reason! Dancing, especially dancing at a fast pace, is an incredible cardio workout that will get your heart rate up. Not all dance is fast-paced, of course, but if you’re looking to improve your stamina and cardiovascular health, picking a fast-paced dance workout DVD like hip-hop or Figure8 is a great way to get the blood flowing.
Building Strength Without Straining the Joints
Dancing can be high impact depending on the style, but for the most part, it is a great low-impact way to get in shape and build strength without straining the joints. People with arthritis or old injuries might be exceptionally well suited to dance, as the motions aren’t repetitive and you don’t have to worry about overuse injuries from your average dance workout DVD.
Can Dance Help Me Lose Weight?
If you’re hoping to lose weight with your new fitness routine, a dance workout video DVD might be just the tool you need. Dance helps with weight loss in the following ways:
- Improving your endurance: We’ve already touched on the fact that dance can help improve your stamina and cardiovascular health, but one of the reasons why it’s especially good for weight loss is because you’ll burn a high amount of calories in a relatively short amount of time thanks to the intensity of the workout. As you continue your dance cardio workout throughout the week, you’ll increase your stamina and endurance, which means you’ll be able to dance for longer periods of time without needing to take a break or call it quits. Today, you might only make it through one song, but tomorrow you might have the energy for two! Your body will begin to recover faster from the effort as you get used to exerting yourself, which means you’ll be able to workout more often and lose more weight.
- Building muscle. Although many of us have been brought up thinking that the key to weight loss is doing more cardio exercise, we now know that one of the most important parts of any fitness routine for weight loss is building muscle through strength training. Muscle burns calories throughout the day, which means that you’ll be burning more calories even when you’re not working out – and you can’t say that about cardio alone. Dance is a low-impact way to strengthen the muscles and achieve the toned look we all covet, and burning more calories throughout the day means you’ll lose weight faster.
- Preventing injury. It’s happened to all of us – we get excited about a new fitness routine and hit the ground running (literally), only to wind up injured when we do too much too soon. We end up needing to take a break from our newfound routine to recover, and before we know it, whatever weight we had lost has crept back on, and possibly a few more pounds. Dance workout DVDs feature total body workouts that remove repetitive motions from the equation while also strengthening your core and the stabilizing muscles in your body. These well-balanced fitness classes are usually low-impact or can be modified to become low-impact, meaning you’ll spend less time sitting on the couch and more time up on your feet dancing.
How Else Can Dance Help Me?
When we say dance is a total body exercise, we mean it. It’s not only good for your body, it’s good for your brain, too! Studies have shown that dancing reduces cognitive decline in aging adults, and a 2017 study showed that white brain matter, which impacts our brain’s processing and memory abilities, increased in adults who danced regularly. People who struggle with social anxiety were also found to have improved confidence after they began dancing regularly. Dancing improves your mood and gets those endorphins flowing because, let’s face it – it’s fun! There’s a reason why little kids and senior citizens alike love to dance. Dancing comes naturally to us and it’s something we’ve done throughout history. That means that popping in a dance classes workout DVD from an online fitness community like BodyFX doesn’t feel like a chore or like something we’re dreading doing, which means we’re all the more likely to stick with it.
Staying consistent is one of the most important parts of any workout routine program and is widely considered to be one of the biggest keys to losing weight and keeping it off with exercise. Dancing also improves flexibility because it gets you moving with new choreography, twisting, and stretching every which way in ways that traditional forms of exercise, like high intensity running, kickboxing, and cycling, do not. It can even help prevent injury by strengthening the small stabilizing muscles in our bodies. As we age, it becomes increasingly important for us to maintain flexibility, and a cardio dance workout DVD is accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Just look for a DVD geared towards beginners or one that advertises lots of modifications for injuries and abilities! Online fitness communities like BodyFx have hundreds of dance fitness workout DVDs that are appropriate for all different levels, so you’re sure to find a style, length, and music playlist type that is the perfect fit for you!