Move to the Beat: Boost Your Fitness with Dance Classes
If you’re ready to find the perfect dance style to fit your personal fitness goals, here’s a breakdown of fun styles you can try.
As a personal trainer with a passion for teaching group fitness classes, I can honestly say that dancing is a great type of exercise to do regardless of your current fitness level. Dancing is a fantastic form of cardiovascular exercise that can help you to improve your overall fitness level, burn calories and relieve stress. I believe that the added bonus of making dance one of your go to fitness fixes is that the coordination factor of mastering movement patterns is great for improving your brain power.
I don’t teach full dance classes myself, but I always try to add an element of dance to my athletic style classes. It tends to make people feel energized, make them smile and for many male athletes, it pushes them outside of their usual comfort zone and adds an element of mental conditioning into their routine.
I make an effort to attend regular dance classes both in my own community and as I travel around the world. I do it because I just love to dance and have fun while getting fit. I’m convinced that if you’re willing to give it a try, you too will have fun and you won’t have trouble finding an incredible array of accomplished instructors and dance styles available in your local community.
Improve Your Body Confidence
If improving your confidence and reconnecting with your inner diva is a priority for you, I suggest trying a jazz dance class. You will learn a variety of jazz steps that are full of energy and you will be encouraged to make each step your own. In a jazz class, dancers are encouraged to add their own personality to make each step unique and fun. Jazz steps include basic turns, some ballet moves and leaps and jumps that add a power element to each class. One of my favorite moves is the jazz walk. It can be performed in many different styles and helps to improve your posture and body confidence. Learning jazz dance technique takes a lot of practice, but it is a fun and energy burning challenge.
If your priority is to get the maximum calorie burn, finding a class with simple choreography is the key because you don’t want to have to figure out complicated moves. A freestyle high-energy class with a Latin feel is a great option.
Stability, Balance and Strength
If muscular stability, balance and strength are your focus, a traditional ballet class is also a great choice. Many athletes, especially football players, are encouraged to take ballet to improve their flexibility and muscular control. The basic positions and techniques of ballet were developed long ago and although choreographers have revised the classical techniques, the basic positions have remained the same.
Core and Mental Challenge
If you want to sculpt your core and get your brain firing on all cylinders, then give hip-hop dancing a try. The complex choreography combined with many moves that involve your abdominal muscles will challenge you both physically and mentally.
There are so many styles of dance from which you can choose, or you can simply put on some music at home and get grooving to your own style. Many fitness instructors are getting quite creative in order to stay relevant in the fitness and dance space, coming up with all sorts of combinations to ensure you get your favorite moves into a feel good dance style class. I’ve seen it all, structured workouts combined with dance, booty dance, pole dance and more, so there is no reason that you can’t create your own unique style that works for you.
If you are moving and having fun, the style of dance you choose doesn’t really matter. Yes, some dance styles burn more calories than others, but as a trainer I believe that if you do what you enjoy, you will be consistent and less likely to skip your fitness routine. It’s dedication and consistency with a healthy lifestyle that will keep you fit long-term so try a few new classes and have fun. If you’re lucky you will get addicted to moving and grooving.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Sr. Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.