Dancing is one workout that allows you to march to the beat of a different drummer, beat, bop or groove. And if you’ve ever seen Dancing with the Stars, you know there’s direct evidence at how fantastic a shaper-upper it is.
The steps, patterns and music keep your mind busy while you work your heart, burn calories and tone your muscles. Before you know it, you're drenched with sweat and feel exhilarated.
Nearly everyone can find some type of dancing to enjoy, from hip-hop to country line, from Irish step to jazz, from pole dancing to waltzing, from belly to Bali.
Folks who wouldn’t be caught dead pumping iron or doing squat thrusts can help keep fit while dancing the night away.
This chart can help you see how dancing fits your goals and lifestyle concerns.
|Body Parts Worked||Varies depending on the type -- in general the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.|
|Calories Burned||In general, about 306 calories an hour for a 150-pound person, 408 for a 200-pound person. A slow foxtrot will burn fewer calories than square dancing or disco.|
|Gear||Comfortable clothing and shoes. Some styles require specific shoes and even costumes depending on how serious you get. Inquire about footwear and clothing requirements if you plan to take lessons.|
|Instruction/Facilities||Classes are offered at community centers, ethnic societies, colleges, adult continuing education programs, dance schools, dance clubs and fitness centers. Private lessons are also available.|
|Time||Typically 60-90 minutes.|
|Schedule/Flexibility||Fits most schedules; ask about hours at your nearby facility.|
Many forms of dancing are a great way for couples to spend some time together, but some, such as line dancing, are excellent for singles.
Consider contra dancing, a fun and energetic type of folk dancing similar to square dancing that is available in many communities. Typically contra dances are held in the auditorium of a community center, church or school at low cost, as little as $5 a night. A caller gives directions while a small band plays. You change partners frequently. Newcomers benefit from the instruction that is generally offered before the dance. This is a great activity for anyone, including singles and families.
Belly dancing, pole dancing and many other styles have also become popular. Swing dancing is no longer the hit as it was in the 1990s, but if you can find it you can have a great workout and a lot of fun. Do you have kids? Ballet, Irish step and other classes get many children off the couch and away from the TV.
"As a lifelong dancer, I must say that dance has molded my physique, tuned my connection between mind and body, and given me poise, balance and strength. You'll find places within yourself that have wanted to dance your whole life and will thank you for giving them the chance." -- iVillager carnee
"At 45 I returned to dancing after 28 years away from it. I lost 23 pounds in four months and haven't put an ounce of it back on. I am now 54 and in better shape than I have been since my late teens." -- An iVillager
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