Your friends are all talking about it and you’ve seen the classes popping up at every gym. Dance workouts are rising in popularity, and for good reason. Not only are they fun, but they’re good for your mental health, your overall fitness, and your confidence! Read more about the benefits of dance workouts below, and see why you should consider adding a dance fitness class into your workout regimen!
Dance as exercise has been around since at least the 1960's, when Dr. Kenneth Cooper explained the benefits of aerobic exercise and recommended people must exercise regularly to live a healthy life. In the 1970's and 80's, dance fitness was made popular in instructional workout videos like those made by Jacki Sorensen, Jane Fonda, and of course, the beloved Richard Simmons.
Dance as exercise exploded in population again in the mid 2000s with the success of Zumba, a Colombian exercise dance class taken by over 12 million people a year. Soon after, group exercise classes came on the rise, and more and more dance and aerobics classes were being offered at gyms. Today, there has been a rise of boutique style studios offering only aerobics classes such as HIIT, kickboxing, spin, and dance classes. So, what's all the fuss about, and why is dance so popular as exercise?
Dance is both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
We know the benefits of aerobic exercise—increased cardiovascular health, weight management, strengthened immune system, decreased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and the list goes on. Taking a dance class is a great alternative to other aerobic exercises such as running or jogging, plus it's way more fun!
Anaerobic, or "without oxygen," exercises are short-exertion, high-intensity movements meant to build muscle, but not necessarily increase endurance, like lifting weights. Dance workouts are anaerobic, with moves such as holding squat positions, crunches, and lifts. Most of the anaerobic exercises in dance target the core and legs, but hip-hop style classes such as The MIX can also tone your arms with handstands and arm pumping moves. The CDC recommends muscle strengthening activity like anaerobic exercise 2 or more times a week, making a dance exercise class perfect for your fitness and overall health!
Dance workouts are a stress reliever, and confidence booster.
If you’re not a natural dancer, it can be challenging to feel comfortable in your first dance class, but rest assured that no one cares what you look like! Shaking and sweating to heart pumping, upbeat music and sharing the floor with fellow dancers is therapeutic. Dance is more than exercise, it's an art, it's a skill, it's communication. Dance is often seen as a form of self expression, and that's because dance is for you and no one else!
The movements in dance are not too complicated, but complicated enough to leave you feeling rewarded at the end of the class when you nailed that one difficult jump-kick perfectly in tune with the beat of the music. When your body feels good, your mind does too, and the endorphins released while dancing have been shown to reduce stress.
Studies show that dance can reduce social anxiety as well, and if you feel loose enough to dance in front of others, you can improve your public speaking skills, as well! As fun as dance is, it can take some courage to let yourself go and dance to the beat in a room full of people. Once you get to attend a few classes and realize the only thing stopping you from getting the most out of dance class is insecurity, your confidence (and performance in class) will surely improve!
Dance fitness classes work the entire body,
This is including muscle groups you wouldn’t typically use in other forms of exercise. Similar to yoga and PILOXING SSP, dance workouts target specific muscle groups one by one, in a total body workout. Unlike other cardio exercises like cycling or running that only target certain areas of your body, dance cardio tones and shapes your muscles through specific high and low impact exercises. Most dance moves alternate between using your arms, legs, and glutes, plus you're always utilizing your core.
These full-body movements used in dance classes exude a lot of energy, and aren’t static movements like in Crossfit or strength training,. Extending leg and arm muscles outward and upwards in every direction prevents muscle tightness, improving balance, flexibility, and muscle tone! Not to mention coordination and rhythm, which is a skill you can carry to other areas of your life as well.
There are so many styles of dance classes
This variety allows you the freedom and flexibility to find one that works best for you. There’s aerobic heavy dance classes such as Zumba, hip hop centered dance classes like The MIX, ballet inspired Barre classes, and combination dance/kickboxing classes such as PILOXING Knockout. Your instructor will work with you on difficulty level and executing the moves properly, but it may take you a while to catch on. Embrace this, as that’s where a lot of the fun is! Your progress from class one to class five will be noticeable and gratifying.
Dance workouts and dance fitness classes are so good for your workout regimen. If you haven’t tried a dance class, try working one into your weekly workout class routine. If you’re not much of a dancer or haven’t taken any kind of group fitness class before, than a dance centric workout class is the best place to start. These classes have a huge demand in the health and fitness industry right now, so finding a class you like should be easy!