Ever noticed a dancer’s body? They’re totally enviable. Lithe, graceful and very toned. Dance takes a lot out of a person physically, but since it’s so much fun, no one is really counting the minutes or the number of calories burnt. To top it off it’s a great way to mix up your workouts, and at the end of it all you end up learning a new skill/talent.

One of the many ways that fitness studios and gyms have incorporated dancing into their programs is ballroom dancing. A 30-minute dance class is said to burn between 130 and 250 calories in an average individual, which is in the same territory as a brisk walk or jogging.

Ballroom dancing requires a partner, but most dance schools pair people up. Latin American ballroom dance has various sorts of dances ranging from Samba, rumba, cha cha cha, waltz and the foxtrot. All of these work on your arms, core, legs, glutes, and back; basically your whole body gets a great workout.

Although most dances focus on your lower body, you’re also using your arms. Secondly, a fitness-based class will make you work out the lower body, including your quads and hamstrings, as you need them to be strong for spins and lifts. And you definitely need to have an upright stance for much of the session, so your back as well as hip abductors and adductors are also engaged.

It is important to be not entirely tone deaf to music, but most teachers excel at teaching even the most non-rhythmic students to dance well. Dancing for 30-40 minutes is a great activity for your body, especially your heart. In fact, for pregnant women it is a very safe way to get a workout in.

While you’re dancing, you engage your brain as well, since you need to remember steps and the length of your strides. It’s not unlike focusing deeply on your running form. Latin American Ballroom dance is very technical and a wrong step can not only throw you but your partner off as well.

Do note that many dance forms put a lot of and strain on your joints, muscles and tendons. Without a regular conditioning program i.e. something to supplement this dance routine with – and a proper warm-up session before you start, you are likely to face micro-tears in your knee and shin muscles which can be easily exacerbated. Muscle cramps are another common complaint, among those who are not practiced dancers, and hence do not start with the idea that it does require warming up, proper hydration and flexible muscles.

Of course, just relying on dance might not help, since you might not be a professional dancer, so it should be an alternative to other strengthening exercises that you might do. Take up a dance class during the weekend, and you’re sure to have fun.

Main image: katydancewithstars.com

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