Dance your way to a healthier you. 

Cha Cha and Tango for Your Health – With a Little Salsa on the Side! 

Let’s face it. Walking in the same spot isn’t the most enjoyable activity. If you find that the treadmill is getting boring, the classes at your gym are humdrum and crowded or your workout videos are worn down, it’s time to spice up your fitness routine. But don’t hit the gym or pop in a new DVD, head to the dance floor!

Heat up the winter months with dancing. Dancing is a fun and exciting way to kick up your fitness routine, and has become one of the most popular ways to get in shape. Whether it’s at home or in a studio, alone or with a partner, you’ll be taking the right steps to a healthier, more fit you. 

Any type of dance and movement is good for you, but how much dancing benefits you depends on the duration, your skill level and how strenuous the dance is. In fact, dancing can burn as many calories as riding a bike, swimming or walking, torching anywhere from 200 to 400 calories in just a half hour. As with most good exercise, dancing offers many potential health benefits: improved strength and flexibility, a sense of well-being, increased endurance and improved cardiovascular fitness.

Don’t think dancing is limited to what you see on Dancing with the Stars. There are many types of dance to choose from, each offering its own specific health benefits. Here’s a quick breakdown of some popular choices: 

Ballroom Dancing
-       Build and increase stamina
-       Tone and strengthen legs and body
-       Increase balance and flexibility
-       Condition body
-       Keep heart in shape
-       Help with weight loss
-       Develop circulatory system

Belly Dancing
-       Maintain flexibility
-       Tone and firm shoulders and arms
-       Build core strength
-       Reduce stress
-       Help with weight loss
-       Improve muscle tone and posture
-       Help prevent lower back problems 

Salsa Dancing
-       Relieve stress
-       Help release toxins through sweating
-       Build stamina and endurance
-       Help weight loss
-       Help lower blood pressure
-       Help improve cholesterol levels
-       Lead to reduced heart rate over time

Square Dancing
-       Strengthen bones
-       Provide cardiovascular conditioning
-       Lead to slower heart rate and lower blood pressure
-       Help improve cholesterol levels
-       Stretch and tone muscle

So, now that you know the benefits of dancing and some specific examples, the next step is to get moving! If you’re shy or self-conscious of your dancing skills, consider a class for “never-evers,” or rent an exercise DVD that covers the basics of dance. Remember to spend a few minutes stretching before you start dancing, to warm up your muscles. If you’re starting out with a video, watch it through once to get familiar with the moves before actually dancing to it, so you don’t have to constantly stop and rewind during your actual workout. And always be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. 

As you become more confident in yourself and your dance moves, you can invite your family and friends along – dancing is a social activity after all! You, your family and friends can even sign up for classes at a local dance studio or community college. You’ll be tearing up the dance floor in no time, looking and feeling good along the way.  

Jazz up that fitness routine!

 Spokane Area Council, Spokane, Washington - SpokaneSquares@icloudcom - 509-489-4492