Fitness can be spontaneous and fun and dancing is one great way to make fitness fun. Everyone likes to dance, even if they do not want to admit it or feel they are not good at it.
Dance workouts are done with different types of music including hip-hop, salsa, reggae, and the determining factor is one’s preference. There is also Zumba, a fitness programme that involves cardio and Latin-inspired dance. Regardless of the dance workout one chooses, here are some of the benefits of dancing:
Michael Kyeyune, a fitness trainer, says dance is an effective way to better one’s fitness abilities.
“A dance session will afford you an amazing cardiovascular workout that will burn a good amount of calories. This is because as you move your body to the music, you are taking it through activity that will eventually lead to sweating, thus burning calories and eventually weight loss,” he says.
Improved muscular strength
Another indicator that dancing is an excellent workout is that it improves one’s muscular strength and muscle tone. For instance, if one dances to a hip-hop son, the different movements made will strengthen one’s muscles.
“It takes a lot of strength to master these moves which in the end translates into better muscle tone. Therefore, the more you dance, the more your muscles get toned and strengthened,” Kyeyune says.
Irene Mukiibi, a ballet tutor, says ballet is great in improving one’s strength.
“Even as a beginner, the dance does well to tone your muscles as you spin and train the body to stand on the tips of your toes, among other moves. In the end, one’s posture will also greatly improve,” she says.
Dancing will also lead to improved coordination, balance and flexibility. For instance, salsa dancing engages one’s feet and hands. Rhumba dancing also requires good coordination since the moves are sometimes fast and an error may lead to an accident.
“Therefore, dancing is an amazing workout, even for the elderly since it betters balance and for these, the tempo can be reduced to favour their age.
Improved brain health
A study; Parkinson’s Disease Motor Symptom Progression Slowed with Multisensory Dance Learning over three Years, it was shown that dancing helps people with neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, people with mild Parkinson’s disease who were part of weekly dance classes for the slated three years showed slower symptom progression than those who were not.
This could be because when dancing, especially when it comes to learning dance routines or choreographed moves, the brain must remain focused. This keeps the brain active, keeping the brain degenerative symptoms at bay.
Improved bone density
Dancing also helps people better their density while reversing the damage to bone density of those with osteoporosis (a disease that weakens bones to the point where they break easily). This is because dancing is a weight-bearing activity thus prompting the bones to gain density. Such results were witnessed in a study; The impact of a senior dancing programme on spinal and peripheral bone mass.
Improved heart health
Lydia Kaitesi, a fitness trainer, says dancing is an amazing workout because as one dances, it raises their heartbeat which increases breath.
“Since dancing engages the whole body, one gets a total body workout and overall body fitness is catered for, preventing the early onset of diseases such as heart attacks and stroke,” she says.
Just like any other workout, fitness levels vary and they communicate what one can or cannot do. As a beginner, Kaitesi advises looking for dance studios that offer beginner classes.
Just like ballet, dancers will start with stretching. However, if one needs to warm up before starting the dance class, Kyeyune advises engaging in simple cardiovascular workouts to raise the heart rate as well as warm up the muscles.
“You can engage in light jumps, body rolls as well as hip rolls for your workout,” he says.
Unlike with some workouts, you do not need much to dance. It can, therefore, be done from the comfort of your own home. Additionally, you can do it on your own or with an instructor (virtual or physical).