According to the American Council on Exercise roughly one-third of American adults don't get the minimum amount of exercise recommended -- that's 2 1/2 hours of physical activity every week [Source: American Council on Exercise]. Whatever your excuse -- you don't have time, it's not fun, you're too uncoordinated -- it's time to put your reasons aside and make the time for … dance. Dance?
Dance is a great form of exercise. It's appropriate for all ages and all levels of fitness. It's a high-energy cardio workout that exercises the entire body, so it's good for burning calories and helping you lose weight.
Let's look at some numbers: A 150-pound person who participates in ballet for 30 minutes will burn about 215 calories. Thirty minutes of a faster, intense dance such as the salsa or Latin dances will burn about 200 calories. And slower dancing, such as the waltz, will burn about 100 calories in 30 minutes [Source: Dancescape].
Dance is also a good weight-bearing workout because it gets you on your feet and moving. Weight-bearing exercise helps increase your flexibility, muscle mass and bone density, which will in turn help to reduce your risk of bone fractures and of developing thin bones and osteoporosis as you age. It also reduces your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.
And if that's not enough, it also helps to elevate your mood, reduce stress, boost your self-esteem and may help to ward off dementia.
Depending on what type of results you're looking for, there is likely a dance workout routine made to suit you, from ballet-inspired to belly dancing-based. In fact, if you're not crazy about the idea of enrolling in a proper ballet class, for example, look for ballet-related options such as ballet barre or ballet boot camp, both of which target the toning of your arms, stomach, butt and thighs in addition to putting you through an intense cardio workout.
Similarly, workouts that borrow from belly dancing highly target the core muscles, resulting in tight abs with exercise moves far sexier than abdominal crunches. Let's look at some of the popular types of dance-fitness routines available and see how they compare with other forms of aerobic exercise. First up, one of the oldest forms of dance-fitness: Jazzercise.