(CARLSBAD, CA) – Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and other popular television shows have brought the art of dance into the mainstream limelight. And that has a lot of people asking the question, “Does dancing count as a workout?”
The answer is “yes,” according to the Mayo Clinic and other respected health organizations. Dancing can burn as many calories as swimming, walking, cycling, or any other fitness activity. The health and weight-loss benefits depend upon how often you dance, how long you dance, and how much intensity you put into your dance workout.
One of the greatest health benefits of dancing is cardiovascular conditioning. The National Institute of Health and the American Heart Association recommend 30 to 60 minutes of cardiovascular activity on most days of the week. Dancing is one way to meet that requirement. In fact, one study conducted at the Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island shows that dancing improves heart rate and overall physical fitness, similar to a walking or jogging program.
Besides the cardio burn, dancing can also build strong bones. Since dancing is a weight-bearing activity, it can actually help to prevent or slow the process of osteoporosis.
Perhaps best of all, dancing can improve your mood. Research from California State University at Long Beach indicates that dancing increases serotonin levels. These feel-good brain chemicals are released into your bloodstream after just five minutes of moderately intense dancing exercise.
Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO of Jazzercise, Inc., has built a worldwide dance-based fitness program. She offers these tips for anyone who wants to incorporate dance into their fitness regimen:
Don’t be a wallflower. If you want to dance, then you have to take the first step. Don your boogie shoes and just start moving!
Go easy on yourself. Remember that it takes years of practice to cut a rug like the professionals on television. Set aside your expectations and simply have fun.
Try a variety of styles. Community centers frequently offer ballet, swing, or ballroom classes at an inexpensive price. If one style of dance doesn’t suit you, then try something else.
Stick with it. If you want the cardiovascular and bone density benefits that dancing provides, then you have to be persistent with your workouts.
Making your debut on the dance floor doesn’t have to be complicated. The only requirement is to get your body moving. You may not look like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers, but you will certainly burn calories, and have fun doing it!
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.