Dance the Pounds Away

Have some fun—and burn mega cals without even noticing—by dancing.

By Debra K | Posted October 30, 2013 |

5425320391_b547424e9aDancing is done for celebration. It’s performed as a form of art. Dancing has always played a role in every era, from the bell-bottomed hustle of the seventies and the balloon pants sliding moves of “Can’t touch this” in the eighties, to the tootsee roll of the nineties and the latest booty-shaking craze, also known as twerking (I’ll admit it—I secretly tried it and have no plans to ever do that in public). Dancing has been and always will be a part of our culture. When we immerse ourselves in an activity that we love, we often forget that it has many health benefits as well.  If you love dancing, you can drop a few stubborn pounds in the process.

Personally, I love to turn on some tracks and do some free-form dancing in my bedroom.  Even at 46, I still manage to “go low”…sometimes getting back up is a different story, but it is fun to relive my college dance days.  It’s a guarantee I’ll work up a sweat and have some fun while doing it.  To make fitness a permanent part of your life, you have to have fun doing it, so for that reason dancing is a great choice.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that found dancing can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in the elderly. The Mayo Clinic reports that social dancing helps to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Increase energy
  • Improve strength
  • Increase muscle tone and coordination

When you dance, your cardiovascular system improves, your muscle tone increases and you burn calories. This low-impact aerobic activity also increases flexibility, strength, and balance. Dancing is great exercise, and it’s important to find a place that offers a safe and fun atmosphere in which to learn.

The team from Canyon Ranch encourages that, even if you haven’t danced since your high school prom, moving to the music may be in your future. Here are some ways to start:

  • Take a ballroom dancing class with a partner. This low-impact, indoor exercise develops balance, agility and mind-body coordination.
  • Make a commitment to learn a strenuous dance form. There are dance groups in nearly every community that hold regular events and welcome new members. We’re told that country swing, tango and salsa are popular options.
  • Dance at weddings, dance around your living room, dance with your kids – just dance! It’s a gift for your body and spirit, and it’s a whole lot of fun.

Another benefit of dancing is the social component.  If you join a dance studio you will meet like-minded people who also enjoy getting out and moving their bodies in fun ways.  If you want to get serious, there are all sorts of scheduled events, parties and competitions you can partake in.

What’s stopping you? Get up and dance!

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