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Dancing Is the Star

The best exercise doesn't have to burn the most calories or build the most muscle. It's the activity that moves you to do it time and time again.

In that sense, dancing is the belle of the ball. Besides being fun, it offers a range of benefits—physical, mental, and social.

Renewed interest in dance makes this a great time to learn at health clubs, dance studios, and schools that offer a variety of classes.

Full-body workout

Dance is a terrific exercise that uses the whole body, provides a cardiovascular workout, and improves flexibility, coordination, and strength. Given time, it can even help you lose weight.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of dance is the enjoyment it provides.

Dance classes aren't the most intense aerobic exercise. But people who like to dance are going to be more consistent in it, and in the long run are probably going to lose more weight.

Safe but fit

Dance classes can be very safe if they are taught well. You can ask the instructor if the class is for all levels of fitness. Make sure that you start with a class appropriate to your level of experience. If you have not danced previously, starting with a beginner class will reduce your risk of injury. 

Dance-based classes in health clubs differ from classes at dance schools. In a health club, dance is focused on getting your heart rate up. In a dance school class, you learn how to dance, how to move your body in space, and how to be confident with those movements in a safe way.

Once you decide which approach fits your goals, think about the music you like. There are classes for every taste, from country and western line dancing to urban hip-hop. When you find a class that sounds right, try before you buy.

Almost every place you go will let you take a class for free. Then ask yourself: does it meet your expectations? Do you like the instructor? Is it a type of dance you enjoy and feel comfortable doing?

You may not even think of it as working out or exercise.

Dance is really bringing people back in the gym who never thought exercise was for them. It's social, it's fun, and nearly everyone can be successful at it.

Happy feet

Here are some qualities of forms of dance:

Ballet:

  • Works core muscles

  • Stresses flexibility and range of motion

  • Involves explosive movements

Ballroom, salsa and swing:

  • Highly social

  • Teaches you to move with a partner

  • Involves memorizing patterns of steps

  • Aerobic intensity depends on tempo

Hip-hop, jazz and urban-street:

  • Highly aerobic

  • Incorporates jumps that build strength

  • Needs flexibility and good range of motion

Tap:

  • For people who love rhythm

  • Develops agility and coordination of feet