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The Physical and Mental Benefits of Dance

Dance like no one is watching, or dance in a crowd. Either way, moving to the beat does fantastic things for your health!

dance_dancing_studio_exercise_picDancing is a great way to get your heart rate up, melt extra body fat, and build lean muscle. Generally, dance is a full body workout that uses a wide variety of motions to engage multiple muscle groups in a dynamic way. Dance uses a significant amount of calories. But just exactly how many calories are burned, and what muscle groups are being worked?

The exact number of calorie expenditure through dance or any other workout is a very individual matter. The number of calories you burn during a workout will depend on variables including your body weight, body fat percentage, muscle density, intensity and effort put forth, and duration of the exercise. Actual figures will also largely depend on what style of dance you’re doing.

There are many different kinds of dance. To name a few of the better known, there is hip hop, salsa, swing, ballroom, belly dancing, folk, and country line dancing. They all count as some form of dance, and they all count as a workout, but they differ in movements, pace, and intensity.

Let’s break down calories burned and muscles worked with hip hop dancing. Hip hop incorporates full-body movements that require significant amounts of muscle strength, stamina and endurance, which places it high on the expenditure scale. It also often involves freestyling, meaning that muscle groups are kept guessing and are less likely to stop responding to the exercise or hit a plateau. In 60 minutes, hip hop will use between 370 (for people of lighter bodyweights) to 610 (for those weighing 180 and up) calories. More specifically a 125 lb. individual will burn approximately six calories per minute or 388 calories in one hour. A 150 lb. individual will burn around eight calories per minute or 465 calories in one hour of hip hop dancing.

dance_breakdance_man_rap_picMuscles worked also varies upon the style of dance and choreography, aka dance moves. In general, the entire body is being worked in almost every form of dance. However, certain styles can place more emphasis on certain body parts. Cabaret dance involves upper body strength when weighted body bars are held up in front of the body or overhead. Hip rolls work the core in a significant way in hip-hop and salsa. The lower body is mainly used in every form of dance but can be overloaded when hopping and getting low on the floor. Dancers also must maintain a good upright frame while dancing, which also encourages proper posture and gives the illusion of a leaner, slimmer body.

However, there are more fitness and health benefits to dancing than meets the eye. In addition to serving as an effective workout that produces tangible physical rewards, dance is an art form of self-expression and a creative outlet, which boosts mental health and allows individuals to connect to innermost emotions. A healthy body and mind isn’t always easy to achieve during the ups and downs of everyday life. Dance promotes therapeutic support which ultimately offers a truly positive experience, and can lead to other healthier habits.

Fitness & Health Benefits of Dance:

  • Safe and easy on the joints
  • Supports weight loss
  • Improves strength, flexibility, agility, and balance
  • Requires good posture and better control of the body’s movements
  • Dancing_dance_woman_mountains_outdoors_picConditions the heart and cardiovascular system, and improves lung capacity
  • Increases Energy
  • Reduces stress
  • Builds confidence and self esteem
  • Lifts spirits and fights depression
  • Boosts memory and keeps the brain active
  • Makes a great social activity, a hobby to do with friends and a positive way to meet people

Dancing is simply fun and keeps us young!

Learn about a ballet dancer, her art, and her health!

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