If you want to lose weight, burn fat or start toning your muscles but the thought of slogging through miles on the treadmill makes you want to cry, you’re definitely not alone. Exercising regularly for health and wellness should be a part of everyone’s routine, but that doesn’t mean it has to be miserable. Dancing offers an exercise alternative that’s not only effective (you’ll burn calories- about 400 calories per hour), it’s also actually fun. Who doesn’t love to break out their dance moves? Whether it’s belly dance, Figure8, disco, or Zumba fitness, dance cardio workouts are a must-try! If you’re interested in finding the best weight loss dance videos that are low impact and burn fat and two-stepping your way to a smaller size, here’s how to get started in just four (ish) easy steps.
Essential elements for dance
Stock up on the essentials: Unlike some cardio workout routines, you won’t need a ton of equipment to dance in the comfort of your living room, but you should be prepared. In order to start losing weight through dance videos or dance classes, make sure you have the following ready to go:
- Clothes you can move in: Dance is still a cardio dance workout that gives you a full body workout. So even though you don’t need anything fancy (leg warmers and leotards are optional), you’ll want to make sure your outfit is comfortable and lets you move freely. You’ll probably be working up a good sweat, so moisture-wicking clothing that is designed for working out is even better if you have that option available.
- Shoes you can groove in: There’s no special shoes required in your living room, but make sure to wear something that won’t cause blisters, offers good support, and won’t slip.
A way to watch: Whether you’re hooking up your DVD player for the dance workout videos or streaming a video on your laptop, make sure you’ve got a way to watch your new dance routine. On that note, you’ll also need…
Space to move: Dancing doesn’t happen standing in one spot, right? Push your furniture out of the way if you need to – you’ll want to have space in all directions so your workout doesn’t get interrupted.
A water bottle: You’re going to work up a sweat on the dance floor, even if the dance floor is in your living room. Make sure you stay hydrated and take regular water breaks.
Choose the right video
You’d think that choosing a dance video is as easy as googling “dance video” and just hitting play, but you’ll probably want to put a little more thought into it when you’re first getting started, especially when your goal is to lose weight. When choosing a dance video, consider these factors:
- Your goals: If you want to lose weight or belly fat, you’ll want to keep an eye out for videos and dances that are done at a fast pace, like Zumba, hip-hop, or samba. The faster you move, the more calories you’ll burn and the better the abs workout will be.
- Your current level of fitness: With that said, if you are just getting started with your fitness journey, you don’t want to take on too much too soon and hurt yourself. Look for videos specifically marketed to beginners, as they will walk you through the steps one by one prior to combining them. If you’ve got tons of dance fitness experience under your belt, you can choose a more advanced video that quickly raises your heart rate to challenge yourself.
- Your music tastes: This is supposed to be fun, right? Pick a style of dance workouts that corresponds to music that you like, whether it’s Figure8, Zumba class, hip-hop, belly dancing, country music, Latin dance, or reggaeton. There are tons of options out there, so you’re sure to find something you enjoy.
- Physical limitations: Do you have lingering injuries or physical limitations that will make some movements challenging for you, like putting your arms over your head? Look for videos that offer modifications for different upper or lower body movements so you can still follow along with the choreography.
Clean up your diet
We’ve all heard the saying that “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet,” and unfortunately, that’s true for dancing, too! As much as we’d like to believe it, exercise alone is not enough to make up for eating too many calories or too much junk. If your goal is to lose weight, we recommend tracking your food intake through an app like My Fitness Pal, which is free, or a program like WW. As you add muscle and rev up your metabolism, your body may start to want more calories for the extra activity, which can lead to weight gain before you know it. If you’re tracking the calories you take in through exercise and the calories you burn through your dancing workouts, you’ll be more likely to succeed. With that said, make sure you take the time to weigh and measure your portions accurately! Estimating incorrectly isn’t hurting anybody but you.
Make time for consistency
Being consistent with your new exercise routine is important. The American Heart Association recommends getting in 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, so assuming you’re keeping it moderate, you’ll want to aim for five 30-minute workouts each week. Your 30 minutes should include a warm-up and a cool down so that you give your body proper time to prepare for the intensity of the workout or cardio exercise and avoid injury. Moving your body more days throughout the week, rather than doing your workouts in one or two long sessions, will help keep your metabolism revved up, which means you’ll be more likely to lose weight.
Don’t forget about the details
It’s all well and good to make sure you get your workouts in and that you watch your food intake, but you can’t forget about the little details, either. Focus on staying hydrated throughout the day, not just while you’re working out. Staying hydrated will help you feel fuller longer and will ensure that when you do feel hungry, it’s actually hunger that you’re experiencing, and not thirst. It also boosts your metabolism, so shoot for eight to ten glasses per day, minimum. Make sure you get enough sleep, too! Not getting enough rest can affect your weight loss if you’re too tired to work out, and increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) due to lack of sleep can make you hang on to the extra pounds. Your body needs adequate time to recover from your workouts, so make sure you focus on your sleep!