I can't be the only one who thinks back to my dancing days with wistful nostalgia.
Remember the days when you would pamper yourself, dress up in your favorite outfit, and head out the door to your local dancing spot?
As you walked in, the sounds of your favorite songs would wash over you as they filled the room with electric energy. The lively beat would propel everyone onto the dance floor.
You may not have realized it at the time but dancing is not only a fun way to spend the night, it can also help work out muscles you never even knew existed! Think back to the morning after, when you felt sore in parts of your body that you did not realize you were exercising because you were busy enjoying a great night.
With home exercise routines becoming more common these days, people sometimes have a hard time transitioning their gym routines into their homes where they may not have all the equipment or space. Maybe all they need is to think outside the box!
With social media dance challenges are becoming more popular, and music serving as an outlet for many people, dance workouts are a fun way to change things up while providing physical health benefits, as well as endorphins to help elevate your mood and energy for the rest of the day.
Physiological Benefits of Dance Workouts
From the cardiovascular perspective, what happens when you dance? Your heart rate increases, and more oxygenated blood is pumped to the muscles that are being used. As your heart works harder and beats faster to pump more blood to the lungs and onto our muscles, it gets stronger!
Muscle conditioning is another benefit of dance workouts. As you use multiple major and minor muscle groups through a series of dance moves following an upbeat rhythm, your muscles become toned, sculpted, and strengthened in ways that even weightlifting may not achieve. Much like other aerobic exercises, with consistent practice, dancing can improve endurance, coordination, motor fitness, and much more!
Where to Find Dance Workouts
Dancing is an activity that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of age, shape, size, and skill. There are many different options when it comes to finding a dance workout, as they can often be modified to fit your current condition and/or skill level. Below are a few sources to explore:
- YouTube: a simple search will lead you to a world of videos at your fingertips. Here are a few searches I would recommend to get you started:
- Zumba: a fitness program that combines Latin and international music with dance moves and routines. It is an opportunity to learn different styles of dancing, incorporating both fast and slow rhythms.
- You can find a Zumba class in your area by using this search online.
- Local Gym/Fitness Center: many facilities have started at home workout videos that include dance workouts to keep people motivated who may not be able to go into the gym. See what your local gym is up to and if they offer virtual fitness classes.
Once you’ve gotten into a groove, you can get creative and make some dance routines of your own to your favorite playlist… maybe even the one you used to use during your gym workouts. You can incorporate dance moves you’ve learned before or think of some new ones on the spot- there’s no wrong moves here and a great form of self-expression!
Kicking It Up a Notch
There are many ways to spice up your dance workouts as you get stronger and more conditioned.
- For an extra challenge, try to target specific areas of the body, such as standing abdominal exercises or a glute and leg focus with squats and lunges within a song. To get some arm exercises in, try to do an arm circuit of exercises to a whole song (this is harder than it sounds!).
- There are advanced programs, such as Strong by Zumba, Zumba Toning, or 45-minute cardio dance and toning workouts on YouTube, that can help you get to the next level.
- Finally, adding arm/wrist and/or ankle weights adds further motor control, strength, and toning to your muscles.
Let’s get moving and have everyone come out onto the “virtual” dance floor so we can get our blood flowing, our endorphins going, and our bodies working! 💃
*As with all exercise routines, consider consulting your physician as medically necessary.*