For some people, dancing is embedded in their genes. Though dancing hasn’t always been treated as a workout style, it has been used for fitness in the form of aerobics for many years. Nowadays, there are many dance workouts, and it can be overwhelming to pick the right one for your fitness goals.
For most dance fitness workouts, improving cardiovascular health is the key result. So, if you want to improve your heart health, you can do any dance fitness workout, including Cardio Dancing and Zumba. But if you have more advanced fitness goals, like better posture or flexibility, you can try Barre or Pole Dancing.
If you’re interested in knowing more about these or learning about the other types of dance fitness workouts, we’re here to help. This is your ultimate dance fitness guide!
What Is Dance Fitness?
Dance fitness is a cardiovascular exercise that utilises dance moves to achieve an aerobic effect. It doesn’t require equipment, only music and space. You can do it alone or with others in a class and an instructor.
It is also sometimes called “beat-based” fitness.
Why Dance For Fitness?
Physical Benefits Of Dancing
Dancing for fitness has many benefits for the body.
Dance fitness is a holistic workout that targets the five fitness components of flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, and body composition.
It also affects stamina, body coordination, rhythm, balance, power, reactivity, agility, and speed. You may also get better sleep at night and a more balanced immune system.
Dance fitness is good for weight loss and toning, especially in your core and lower body. A 30-minute session can burn a reasonable amount of calories (depending on the intensity), and longer duration can burn more. So, you can start small and build up your endurance to do a longer dance fitness session.
You can also develop greater bone density, and in the long run, prevent arthritis. You can even prevent cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.
Mental Benefits Of Dancing
Many dance fitness instructors and participants have reported overall better mental well-being. In fact, it is an excellent outlet for stress.
Compared to jogging, cycling, or running for fitness, dancing involves various movements, so you can avoid routine and increase your motivation. This can lead to a positive cycle of wanting to go back to your dance fitness class regularly.
Dance fitness can also improve your spatial navigation. Studies show decreased dementia risk when you regularly learn dance moves. In fact, learning new moves is believed to strengthen long-term and short-term memory.
Music is integral to dance fitness, and it can boost your mood. All exercises can give you endorphins or happy hormones, but dance fitness has extra points since music is involved, and everyone loves music. Some people even believe that dancing is the best exercise for staying and feeling young.
An additional consolation is that dancing can also have social benefits if you join a class. A sense of community is also good for your mental health.
Do Dance Fitness Workouts Work?
Yes! Dance fitness workouts really do work.
Similar to workouts that look like simple hobbies (swimming, boxing, cycling, etc.), dancing for fitness is categorised as a cardio workout. With regular sessions, you can also see improvement in your weight loss journey and toning, just to name a few.
How Long Is A Good Dance Fitness Workout?
A session lasting for 30 minutes or less is already beneficial, but an hour maximises the calorie burn.
Depending on the intensity and the weight you’re starting, a 30-minute dance fitness workout can help you burn anywhere from 130 to 500 calories.
What Are The Different Types Of Dance Workouts?
There are many different dance workouts ranging from low to high intensity. Here are just some of the options:
Zumba is one of the most—if not the most—popular dance fitness workouts out there. It is a high-energy, Latin-inspired dance workout usually done in a group. It is a type of interval workout where you alternate between high- and low-intensity movements.
Zumba is a cardio exercise good for losing fat, strengthening the core, and developing flexibility. The movements are derived from the aerobic elements of Latin dance styles (mambo, salsa, samba, etc.), which may be overwhelming for beginners.
But everyone can do Zumba. No dance experience is required.
However, some say that body coordination is necessary because of the Latin-inspired choreography. That said, Zumba is suitable for people who want to improve their cardiovascular fitness and get muscle toning through a more choreographed dance fitness workout.
Today, several types of Zumba classes are available, like Aqua Zumba (a water-based body-toning dance party), Zumba Toning (a strength-training, body-sculpting dance party), Zumba Gold (a lower-intensity dance party for active seniors), and Zumba for Kids (a kid-friendly dance party).
Cardio Dancing is probably the most basic dance fitness workout. It uses choreographed and disciplined dance moves to work out the body. Constant motion is the key to this body-burning workout.
Cardio Dancing can strengthen your lungs, improve stamina and blood flow, and positively impact your circulatory and immune systems. It can also help prevent cardiovascular problems and diabetes in the long run.
Cardio Dancing is suitable for all ages. If your fitness goal is to improve your cardiovascular health, this is a good option.
Konga is a high-intensity, fat-burning workout developed in Australia. Konga is often compared to Zumba, but they’re slightly different since Konga has no Latin influence.
Choreography for Konga includes boxing, cardio, dance, hip hop, pop, jazz, ballet, Pilates, and muscle toning exercises. You may even do squats, burpees, and twerks. Konga is a calorie-burner even though the workouts are based on only four simple moves.
Konga is suitable for any age demographic who wants to burn calories with high-intensity movements. You can also do Konga if you want to shape and sculpt your body through dance fitness, but your coordination is low.
Konga-LO, a specialised low-impact type of Konga, is also available for seniors, the disabled, or those suffering from muscle and joint pains.
Mind-Body Flow (Yoga)
Mind-Body Flow (Yoga), BodyFlow, or BodyBalance is a dance fitness program created by Les Mills International. It is a workout that involves yoga moves, stretching, pilates, and Tai Chi. Breathing control is an essential part of this exercise.
Do Mind-Body Flow to improve your flexibility and build strength while feeling calm and centred. This is also great for reducing stress. When comparing yoga to gym workouts, it can be a lot more accessible and enjoyable for newcomers.
Mind-Body Flow is suitable for a wide range of people, even without yoga experience. Your instructor can modify some of the moves and positions so that you can get the most out of this workout even with low exposure to yoga. In fact, with their doctor’s green light, even pregnant women can do this workout if they want to maintain their core control and muscle balance.
Barre or ballet barre is a fusion of dance, ballet, yoga, pilates, and strength training. It involves high-reps with few movements. Expect to do static stretches, plies, push-ups, tricep dips, and planks when you go to a barre class.
If you want to focus on your legs and glutes, barre is excellent. Some classes employ equipment, light hand weights and resistance bands to build lean muscles and mats for the core. People recovering from an injury and pre or post-natal individuals can also join barre classes with modified movements.
Barre is also ideal for adolescents who want to improve their flexibility and muscle, ligament, and tendon flexibility. It can also correct or improve posture.
Other types of barre dance workouts are also available, like cardio barre (barre plus cardio) and HIIT barre (barre but more intense).
Bollywood Dance Fitness
Bollywood dance fitness incorporates the high-energy, fast-paced style of dancing from India. Movements are derived from a fusion of Latin dancing, funk, and folk dancing. Expect to start slow and suddenly shift to strong and fast movements in a Bollywood Dance Fitness Class.
Benefits from this aerobic dance exercise include toning the body, improving coordination and rhythm, and relieving stress.
This is good for anyone interested in Indian culture or even those just curious. It’s also for more active adults—but maybe not active seniors—since this will demand you to move a lot.
There are various styles of Bollywood dance fitness that fuse different dance styles. Classical (old-school with sensual, gliding movements), Kathak (fast footwork and spins), and Modern and Bhangra (folk rhythms fused with hip hop, Latin, and jazz).
Jazzercise is a dance fitness workout combining hip hop, yoga, pilates, kickboxing, and cardio strength. It improves cardiovascular endurance, balance, flexibility, and body toning.
Anyone can join a jazzercise session. In fact, it’s popular for all age groups, especially those who are fans of the 80s.
Pole fitness is a dance fitness workout that combines sensual movements and acrobatics with a vertical pole. It is increasing in popularity nowadays.
Pole fitness promotes cardiovascular health and develops healthier muscles, bones, joints, and connecting tissues. It is also great for flexibility and upper body strength.
People of all ages and genders can join a pole fitness class. You don’t even have to be flexible to begin with. As long as you have the enthusiasm to learn this dance workout. The only word of caution you need is that it’s tough to master.
Some types of pole fitness classes are sensual, acrobatic-focused, and dance-focused.
What Are The Best Dance Workouts For Beginners?
Even though most of the classes we talked about here are open to anyone—no matter the gender or age—I’d say the best dance workouts for beginners are Cardio Dancing, Zumba, and Konga.
You don’t need any equipment for those workouts, and you can do them alone in your room. But, of course, there’s the additional social aspect when you do dance fitness in a group fitness setting.
Where Can I Go To Do Dance Fitness?
There are a handful of studios across Australia that offer dance fitness classes. Nonetheless, you could also do dance fitness at home, whether on your own via YouTube or by enrolling in online dance classes.
Can I Do Dance Fitness At Home?
Yes! You can do dance fitness at home. You can watch videos online, join online dance classes, or just turn up your radio and dance.
The only limitation you have is equipment for specific dance fitness workouts like barre or pole dancing. That said, if you’re going for dance cardio or Zumba, space is all you need.
Online Dance Fitness Classes
With lockdowns here and there, online dance fitness classes have started to be available for people who want to continue their dance fitness journey. Here are some of the classes out there.
Internationally acclaimed fitness company Les Mills International offers online dance workout classes.
You can join Les Mills Dance, which has hip hop, house, and contemporary dance moves in the mix. There’s also the Sh’bam dance class, which is specifically made for beginners who love dance. And if you want to focus on building your strength and toning your muscles, you can join the Les Mills Barre, a modern, online ballet dance class.
305 At Home
305 At Home also offers online dance workout classes with fun and epic workouts. Accompanied by DJ-curated tunes, you’ll be doing high-intensity aerobics, strength toning, and sports drills.
When you enrol, you can also have access to cardio, strength, stretching, and boot camp content.
DanceBody also offers dance fitness for everybody from anywhere.
This NYC-based dance studio has live classes, on-demand videos, and live videos available for their #StreamTeam. For on-demand, you can access cardio and sculpt workouts in varying difficulty, length, and focus. You can download their app on Android, Apple, Amazon’s fireTV, and Roku.
YouTube Dance Fitness Channels
If you’re browsing YouTube, you can catch these dance fitness channels to help you in your workout.
Afrifitness utilises African music with African dance, HIIT, and resistance training. Their playlist has full-length workouts, arm toning, body toning, quick home, and even weight loss tips.
Dhruvi Shah Dance is led by a dancer and choreographer from Mumbai, India. Her content doesn’t only involve Bollywood Dance Fitness workouts but also Western and Contemporary Dance, to name a few. She has dance fitness videos for individuals, partners, and even kids.
DanceFIT University is headed by an ACE Certified Group Exercise instructor. She has live and on-demand videos for dance fitness workouts like Zumba, Zumba Gold, Zumba for Kids, and Barre, just to name a few.
Do Online Dance Classes Work?
They can! Any dance fitness workout works as long as you show up and be consistent. However, the social aspect or sense of community isn’t the same with virtual fitness, and that’s not as motivating as doing face-to-face dance fitness classes.
Still, there are testimonies to online dance classes working.
Dance fitness classes not requiring equipment are best if you’re taking them online because of the lack of materials.
Is It Better To Dance Or Work Out?
It depends on your fitness goals and your motivation level. Dancing is holistic—although there are dance fitness classes that also focus on certain parts of the body.
On the other hand, a gym workout is more focused on developing certain aspects of fitness. Dancing also doesn’t sound like a chore the same way that “workout” sometimes sounds. It also has a social aspect and can be seen as more fun because of the diversity in the playlist.
Dancing is very open to beginners if you want to kick off your fitness journey, so you can start there and compare it with a gym workout once you get your exercise habit pinned down.
This article is published for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice and does not take into consideration your individual circumstances, medical conditions or abilities. Always consult a medical professional before beginning any program of exercise. A fitness industry professional can provide personalised advice to suit your needs.