Staying fit is very important and exercising every day for at least half an hour is necessary for good health.Dancing is one of the most natural forms of aerobic exercise, which not only keeps you healthy but also entertained and engaged.
All you need to do is to switch on your favourite music, slip into your jogging shoes and start dancing. You need not even be a trained dancer to be able to groove your way into fitness and better health, as dancing has come naturally to humans since prehistoric times. That’s why you won’t find a single culture in world history which hasn’t had its own dance rituals.
There are various physical as well as mental health benefits of dancing, which makes this form of workout very effective even today. Studies show that from promoting weight loss and toning your muscles to improving your cognitive abilities, dancing can help you maintain all aspects of your health. However, there are a few things you must keep in mind while taking up a dance workout since, like every other exercise form, improper form and method can cause injuries. Here’s everything you need to know about dance workouts, including their types, benefits, risks and tips on how to start out.
Types of dance workouts:
From Bharatnatyam and Kathak to Tango and Salsa, there are many types of dances that people take up as an art form and as a workout too. Almost all dance forms improve balance, engage your core muscles and include medium- to high-intensity exercises that burn fat. There are a few dance forms, however, that are better workouts because they are more dynamic and involve more high-intensity movements.
Zumba: Zumba is an exercise fitness program. Alberto Perez,a Colombian dancer created Zumba. Upbeat music and dynamic body movements of varying ranges ensure that everybody can take up Zumba, no matter what their age.
Belly dancing: While it looks exotic and slow, belly dancing actually involves hip circles, shoulder shimmies and feet or leg movements that increase your range of motion and balance. Belly dancing is recommended for those at risk of or with arthritis.
Hip-Hop: Hip-hop is a street-based dance style which involves high-intensity, high-impact steps with rapid weight shifts and jumps. This style of dance workout is not suited to people with arthritis or osteoporosis.
Bharatnatyam: This classical Indian dance form. It not only involves squats and lower abdominal and limbs to be balanced and moved but also engages the shoulders, neck, arms and even the eyes. Bharatnatyam also involves narratives and a wide range of expressions, which can help boost your cognitive function and memory.
Kathak: When you wear weighted bells on your feet and perform a wide range of movements-as dancers do in Kathak-it not only helps burn calories but also improves your balance. Kathak includes narrative storytelling through dance, which may be great for your mental fitness.
Odissi: Odissi is another classical dance form that engages, tones and strengthens almost every muscle in the body-even the facial ones. Odissi may also help you improve your flexibility.
Is dancing better than other workouts?
The amount of fat you burn or weight you lose by engaging in a dance workout depends on the form of dancing you select. More vigorous, dynamic and intense dance forms are likely to help you lose more weight. Even ballroom dancing, which isn’t as vigorous as some other forms, can help you burn up to 260 calories in an hour. Salsa, Zumba and other aerobic dancing forms can burn as many calories as swimming laps or running does.
In a study published in Plos One in 2018, an extensive assessment was performed on older participants.It is based on how dance and other fitness activities separately affected general cognition, attention, memory, postural and cardio respiratory performance and neurotrophic factors. The researchers behind this study found that compared to conventional fitness activities, dancing led to larger stimulation of the brain and helped improve spatial memory and attention levels too.
So, while dance workouts may lead to the same physical improvements like muscle toning, strengthened bones, endurance boost and weight loss as other fitness activities, the mental and cognitive benefits of dance surpass those provided by the other activities. In this sense, dance workouts are better than other workouts.