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Dancing Exercises to Lose Weight: Does it Work?

Approximately 36.5 percent of American adults are obese, with another 32.5 percent considered overweight. Combined, nearly 70 percent of American adults are either overweight or obese, and the health consequences are frightening. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, among other conditions, so getting your body down to a healthy weight is a must if you want to live a long, healthy life. With that said, most people understand how difficult it can be to lose weight or get that flat belly, especially a substantial amount of weight. The thought of skipping out on all of your favorite foods and logging long, boring hours on the treadmill is enough to make most people want to give up on their weight loss and fat loss journey before they even get started. Fortunately, there are fun alternatives to the typical boring form of exercise, including the aerobic exercise of dancing.  You can incorporate dancing exercises to lose weight effectively, and it actually works. You do a 400 calorie burn in an hour while having fun and toning and shaping your body. Whether it’s belly dance, disco, BodyFX or Zumba fitness, cardio dance workouts are a must-try! Using dancing exercises to lose weight actually works if you follow some simple guidelines, including those below.

Clean Up Your Diet

You knew it was coming, but we bet you were hoping we didn’t say it. To lose weight with any type of exercise, including dance, you’ll need to clean up your diet a bit. As the saying goes, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet, and unfortunately, it’s true. That doesn’t mean you need to do something extreme like hop on the keto bandwagon or never touch sugar again, however. Making small changes in your diet that you can actually stick with is the best way to kickstart your weight loss, because you’re more likely to stay consistent as you work towards your goals since you won’t feel deprived. Start by looking for “healthy swaps” you can make in your current diet. For example, if you typically eat a bologna sandwich with mayonnaise on white bread for lunch each day, try swapping the white bread out for wheat bread, consider replacing the bologna with turkey or chicken, and think about switching from mayonnaise to Miracle Whip or mustard. In general, you’ll want to focus on eating lean proteins, whole grains, and lots of fruits and vegetables while keeping processed food to a minimum and making sure you’re taking in fewer calories than you’re burning throughout the day. With that said, make sure you take the time to weigh and measure your portions accurately! Estimating incorrectly isn’t hurting anybody but you.

Find a Dance Cardio Workout You Love

Now comes the fun part – it’s time to get your whole body moving! When it comes to choosing a dance workout video, it’s helpful to put some thought into it before you get started rather than simply googling “dance video” and pressing play, especially if you want to stick with it for the long term and lose weight. First, consider your goals. Assuming weight loss is important to you, go for dance videos that are done at a fast pace, like hip-hop, or samba. These faster dances will help you work up a sweat faster, and burn a higher number of calories. However, your current level of fitness should also be a consideration, because you don’t want to take on too much too soon. If you’ve never done much dancing before or you’re just getting started on your fitness journey, make sure to look for videos specifically marketed to beginners. These videos will guide you through each step one by one before combining them. If you have a dance background or feel more confident in your fitness, look for a more advanced video that will get your heart rate up quickly. Of course, you’ll definitely want to choose a dance video that’s set to a kind of music you like! Whether it’s Figure8 dance classes, hip-hop, belly dancing, country music, Latin dance, or reggaeton, there’s a workout out there that you will enjoy. Finally, consider any physical limitations you might have, like injuries. Many videos offer modifications for certain upper or lower body dance moves so that you can still follow along with the dance routines, so make sure you choose a video that offers modifications. 

Keep it Consistent

One of the biggest mistakes most people make with weight loss is that they start off by doing too much, too soon and get burnt out, injured, or overwhelmed by all of the changes they’re making. When it comes to weight loss, consistency is key. The American Heart Association recommends getting in 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week or 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, so assuming you’re keeping it moderate, try to aim for five 30-minute workouts each week. The best way to do this is to make an appointment with yourself by scheduling your workout time in your calendar, planner or phone and sticking to it just like you would with any other appointment. Your 30-minute workout should include a warm-up and cool down to give your body plenty of time to prepare for the workout and help avoid injury. Although some people would rather exercise fewer times per week for longer periods of time, moving your body more days throughout the week will help keep your metabolism revved up, which means you’ll be more likely to lose weight.

Get Ready to Dance

Dancing is one of the easiest exercises to incorporate into your daily routine because it requires virtually no equipment, especially when it is done in the comfort of your own home. However, there are still a few things you’ll need to make sure you are prepared to start losing weight and getting fit through dancing exercises. First, you’ll need some clothes that you can move around and sweat in. Dancing requires a full range of motion, so it’s important to make sure your outfit isn’t restrictive and that it allows you to move freely. You’ll be working up a good sweat because dance is a cardio workout, so if possible, moisture-wicking clothing that is specifically designed for exercise is the best choice to keep you cool and comfortable. Next, you’ll need some comfortable non-slip shoes. You don’t need anything special, like tap shoes or ballet shoes, but it’s important to wear something that won’t cause blisters, offers good support, and won’t slip on the surface where you’re dancing. You’ll also need plenty of space to move around, so take that into consideration when you’re choosing where to dance. Don’t be afraid to move your furniture out of the way so you have space to move in all directions – think of it as a mini strength workout! Whether you choose to hook up your DVD player or stream a video on your tablet or laptop, you’ll also need a way to watch your dance video. Finally, make sure you have a water bottle nearby, because you’re going to be working up a serious sweat! It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the workout, so take regular water breaks as you need them.

Pay Attention to the Details

If losing weight was as simple as just making sure you consume less calories than you burn, a lot more people would probably be at a healthy weight, but unfortunately, there are a lot of other factors that go into it. While getting your workouts in and watching what you eat are major components of the process, it’s also important to pay attention to the details. For one, your water intake has a major influence on your weight loss, so make sure you’re staying hydrated throughout the day and not just when you’re working out. Staying hydrated will  boost your metabolism, help you feel fuller longer, and will also help stave off “fake hunger.” Sometimes, we feel hungry when we’re actually thirsty, and our brains start telling us it’s time to eat. A good rule of thumb if you’re feeling hungry and aren’t sure if it’s hunger or thirst is to drink a big glass of water when you start feeling hungry, then wait 20 minutes. If you still feel hungry, then you are legitimately hungry and it’s time for a snack. If not, you were just thirsty!  Shoot for eight to ten glasses per day, minimum, plus more during your workout. Sleep is also an important component of weight loss. Not getting enough sleep can affect your weight loss in several ways. First, you may be too tired to work out if you’ve only gotten a few hours of shuteye. Second, lack of sleep causes increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), which directs your body to hang on to the extra pounds. You are working out hard, which means your body needs adequate time to recover from your workouts, so make sure you focus on your sleep!

Using dance exercise to lose weight is a healthy and sustainable way to start your weight loss journey, and most importantly, it’s a lot of fun! Remember, exercise is just one component of weight loss, so don’t forget about the other factors.