Fitness doesn’t have to feel like torture or be tedious in order to be effective. In fact, one look at shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” or “Dancing With the Stars” is all it takes to see that one of the most effective workouts out there is dancing. Most people enjoy shaking it at the club or getting down at a wedding with their dance moves, but still, it can be intimidating and even overwhelming to think about dancing for fitness. How do you make sure you get the best possible workout? The good news is that there’s no such thing as the “wrong” type of dance for fitness; depending on your fitness level and what type of dancing you’re doing, you could burn anywhere from 200 to 500 calories an hour! If you’re looking to get started with dancing workouts to add to your health and wellness regimen, dance workouts can help you get a jumpstart on your health. In this guide, we’ll teach you all about how to find the best dance workout videos for beginners, the benefits of dancing for fitness, what you need to get started, and how to get the most out of your new routine.
When most people think of a workout routine, they think of hitting the treadmill or the weight room with a personal trainer, but you can have your own at-home workout program with just a few cardio dance workout videos from companies like Body FX. Dance is a total body exercise, so it’s one of the best choices you can make for your body. The benefits of dancing for fitness include:
- Dancing helps strengthen your core. The flat tummy and toned abs of your dreams might be closer than you think, because dance fitness is one of the best ways to work your core. As you twist and turn throughout the movements, your abs, lower back, and glutes all get a killer workout that mimics the natural motions of the body. You’re also less likely to suffer from back pain as your core gets stronger.
- Dancing improves flexibility. When you dance, you move through every plane of motion imaginable as you twist, turn, stretch, and shimmy. Activities like running and cycling are repetitive, but dance is the complete opposite. You’ll stretch and lengthen your muscles rather than shortening and tightening them, like repetitive forms of cardio workouts do.
- Dancing is a total body workout. Many exercises target just one or two major muscle groups, but dance manages to hit every major muscle group in the body. That means that you get more out of each minute of your workout and won’t need to incorporate other types of workouts specifically to tone a certain body part.
- Dancing works your supporting muscles: Not only does dance work the major muscle groups of the body, it also helps build your supportive stabilizing muscles, tendons, and ligaments, particularly those in the feet, legs, and core. With dance, you’ll get a low impact workout that targets muscles that you simply can’t reach with repetitive exercise or weight training, which will help you improve your balance, helping to reduce your risk of injuries and falls.
- Dancing improves your brain health. Worried about cognitive decline as you age? With dancing, you don’t have to be. A 2017 study found that white brain matter, which impacts our brain’s processing and memory abilities, was increased in adults who danced regularly.
- Dancing is fun. If the thought of spending an hour on the elliptical or heading out for yet another run makes you bored before you even start, you might find better luck with dancing, because dancing is fun! As little kids, we love to dance because moving our bodies to music playlist just feels good. No two dances are the same, so you don’t have to worry about getting bored, either.
- Dancing can improve your mood. We’ve already established that dancing is fun, but the activity does more than tone your body and burn calories – it helps lift your mood. Dancing has been shown to improve your mood and benefit mental health, and it has also been found to help people with social anxiety gain confidence. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, you might notice some of your symptoms diminish when you start a dance routine.
How Do You Find Dance Workout Videos for Beginners?
It might seem intimidating to try and find the free best dance workout videos for beginners, but there are plenty of great options out there. When trying to find dance videos for beginners, take into account the following factors:
- Dance experience: Even if your fitness level isn’t where you’d like it to be, if you have years of dance history, you’re probably not a true beginner in the traditional sense. If you have never taken dance lessons or don’t feel confident in your ability to learn steps quickly, look for dance classes with videos marketed specifically to beginners that will take you step-by-step. These videos will walk you through each movement individually before putting them all together. On the other hand, if you’ve danced for years but are currently out of shape, you’ll likely be better off with a more advanced workout that moves more quickly but offers modifications for more challenging movements.
- Musical preference: One of the hardest things about starting a new workout program is sticking with it. Make it a little easier to continue your workouts by choosing workouts set to a type of music that you like to listen to, at least at first. Some videos offer dances set to one type of music, like country or hip-hop, while others, like Figure8, offer a variety throughout one video.
- Modification options: When choosing a dance workout video as a beginner, look for videos that offer modification options for those with physical limitations, injuries, or lower fitness levels. Many videos offer several different options on how to perform the choreography in ways that will work for your body.
How Can You Get the Most Out of a Dance Workout?
If you’re taking the time to press play and do your dance cardio workout, why not get as much out of it as you possibly can? Dance workout videos are a great first step, but as you progress in your fitness journey, consider adding in some of the following elements to get the most out of your workouts:
- Try different types. Starting with music you enjoy and a style you love is the perfect place to start, but as you begin to become more advanced in your dancing, consider branching out to other styles as well. While every type of dance is a great workout, some focus more on one specific part of the body than others (such as hip hop dance or latin dance). By trying a few different types of dance, you’ll be sure to change it up and keep your body guessing so that it never gets used to the workout and you continue to make progress. Companies like Body FX offer a huge range of workout options including dance and other options, like boot camp.
- Focus on nutrition. Depending on how important weight loss is to you, focusing on your nutrition may be especially important. As the saying goes, “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet,” and unfortunately, it’s true. Work on incorporating whole grains, lean meats, and fruits and vegetables into your diet to help keep your energy levels high, and consider watching your portion sizes if you are trying to lose weight.
- Learn your anatomy. We all have certain “problem areas” on our bodies that seem to hold onto fat more stubbornly or are slower to add muscle. If you are looking to work out as efficiently as possible and lose fat and build muscle, learning your anatomy will help you because you can learn what movements target which areas. For example, your core is actually made up of the transverse abdominis (the deep layer of the core), rectus abdominis (the six-pack), internal obliques, external obliques, and the muscles of your glutes and back, but most people think of your core as just your abs. Learning your anatomy will help narrow down specific exercises that can help toning those muscle groups.
- Work your stabilizing muscles. In order to prevent injury and make you a stronger dancer, make sure you don’t forget to perform stabilizing exercises in addition to your dance workouts. Try squats, pushups, or overhead presses on unstable surfaces, like a Bosu or soft mat.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
Getting started with dance workout videos is about as uncomplicated as it gets. Here’s what you need to start dancing right in the comfort of your living room.
- Comfortable clothes: Look for moisture-wicking clothing that will help keep you cool while you shake up a sweat, and make sure you wear clothing that provides a full range of movement and is not restrictive.
- Comfortable non-slip shoes: No special shoes are required for a living room dance party! Just make sure they won’t slip or cause blisters.
- Water: Dancing works up a sweat, so make sure you stay hydrated by taking regular water breaks during your workout.
- Space to move: Dancers move around a lot, so make sure you have the space you need to spread out. Move the furniture if you have to!