Are you aware that dancing is considered an athletic activity? Well, it is and it’s even recognized by the International Olympics Committee as a sport. “Why?” you might ask, considering most people only understand dance to be an art form (which it is), but because of the physical training, stamina, agility, skill, endurance, strength, and the overall exertion required (especially for competitive and advanced dancers), it qualifies as both art and sport. With everything that goes into it, it’s really no wonder! What might come as equally surprising to you is that if you’re trying to get fit, slim down, or just be healthier in general, you can actually use dancing as a form of exercise. Yes, it’s totally possible! And no, we’re not talking about Zumba (you don’t have to go to a gym or even a class, if you don’t want to)! It’s just dancing – no structured workouts, no clothing or gear that you don’t want to buy – and people everywhere can attest to the impressive fitness results that they’ve achieved just by doing it regularly, whether at home or on the dance floor!
If you’ve tried workouts, gym memberships, classes, diets, and other regimens that you couldn’t stick to, it might be because they didn’t suit your interests and, if that’s the case, then dancing for fitness could be right for you. Below, we share a few of the surprising, subtle, and often unacknowledged ways in which dancing helps you get fit, slim down, lose weight, tone up, and be healthier overall. You’ll be dancing your way into shape in no time!
Boost Your Metabolism & Burn More Calories
Dancing usually requires more energy than what you might do in a typical day, which makes it a great calorie burner! As a full-body aerobic activity, whether low- or high-intensity, it’ll boost your cardio endurance and get your heart rate up – that helps to more rapidly burn away calories and potentially lead to weight loss, too. This can especially be the case if you engage in dancing on a regular basis – let’s say for 30 minutes to an hour (or more) at least a couple of times per week. As you dance, your body will move in ways that it’s not used to, which increases the calorie-burning effect (the more change introduced to your physical activities, the more energy is required to carry them out, and that means more calories get burned). As a form of cardio, dancing can also boost your metabolism, pushing these results even further!
Feel & Look More Toned & Defined
If one of your goals is to add definition to your arms, core, legs, glutes, or back, then dancing won’t let you down. You’ll have to keep it up, of course (as with anything that you treat as a fitness regimen), but, with time, you’ll start to feel and actually see these areas tone up. Some dance styles will literally work your entire body at once, while others will have more isolated emphasis on certain parts.
Improve Your Eating Habits & Lower Your Calorie Count
When you make dancing a regular part of your life and consciously decide that it’ll double as your fun and your fitness, then chances are you’ll end up being a lot more selective about your intake, as a byproduct. If not at the advising of your instructor, just knowing first-hand how certain foods make you feel, shortly before and after dancing, can prompt you to make new dietary decisions. The more you dance, the more aware you’ll become of how your body reacts to specific carbs, proteins, vegetables, fruits, and beverages. This means that you’re going to notice what makes you feel weighed down, slow, sluggish, cramped, or sleepy; on the same token, you’ll be keen on foods that make you feel energized and keep you light on your feet (which is exactly what you want)! So, even if you’re not exactly dieting, dancing for your health is likely going to impact how you eat and, when you’re serious about it, you’ll dial in to what your body shows you it does and doesn’t need.
Sleep Better, Lose Weight, & Feel Energized
Do you realize that dancing could lead to better-quality sleep, and that the better your quality of sleep is, the more likely you are to lose weight and body fat? Yeap! Studies indicate that sleep plays a role here – and it’s “deep sleep” that you’ll want to aim for in particular (which dancing, or exercising in general, can help you achieve). Naturally, the more active you are, the more sleep you need, but it’s the physical activities outside of your daily routine that are most likely to help you reach the state of deep sleep required to achieve weight and fat loss. It goes without saying that better sleep also rewards you with more energy, so you can use all of that extra fuel to go dance and get the fit bod you’re working for!
How exciting is it knowing that you can actually ditch a gym membership for something more fun and still achieve your goals to lose weight and tighten your body?! Regular dancing truly can lead to burning calories, getting toned, healthier eating, better sleep, improved metabolism, and more energy (to keep dancing, of course)! And those who do dance for fitness find opportunities to engage often: Some do it at home alone or with their significant ones; Going out weekly to dance for a few hours in social settings, like nightclubs, is also popular; For others, being taught by a professional dance instructor is the path to achieving desired results. Whichever route you take, be sure to make a habit out of it (consistency is key) and, if you decide to take lessons, there are plenty of Latin and ballroom dance styles that are especially good for this.
At the end of the day, when you’re dancing for fitness, not only are you bound to achieve your health goals, but you’ll become a more confident and happier person, too! So, if you love music and you love “moving,” give it a shot, because you’re worth the health and happiness you seek… and besides, getting started is really easy when it’s in the comfort of your own home!
Feel free to share your own tips for dancing to fitness bliss in the comments section below! We’d love to know what dance styles, environments, and music types have worked best for you!