Dance Your Way to Fitness (Video)

Tap into your inner dancer for better health

older couple dancing in kitchen

Looking for a more fun way to exercise?

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Try dancing. Whether it’s swing or square dancing, salsa or tap, dancing can be a great way to stay in shape. There are as many different physical benefits to dance as there are types of dance.

“Ballet is great for strength and flexibility,” says sports health physician Kim Gladden, MD. “Jazz, swing and contra dancing will give you cardio benefits. And if you’re looking to do something with your partner, ballroom dancing is fantastic.”

If you have a heart problem or any health issue, check with your doctor before undergoing any exercise program.

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Different dances, different benefits

Dr. Gladden runs down a list of dances and their health and fitness benefits:

  • Tango is great for upper body carriage and posture
  • Tap is excellent aerobic exercise, short bursts of precision, good for leg sculpting
  • Modern dancing promotes flexibility and spine awareness
  • Salsa is great for precision and posture
  • Belly dancing builds core strength, excellent for all abdominal muscles
  • Ballroom is great for grace and posture

Go to the head of the class

The best way to get into a dance routine is to get into a dance class.

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If you’re interested in taking a dance class, it’s a good idea to talk to the instructor to make sure it’s right for your fitness and experience level, Dr. Gladden suggests. Or go and watch the class itself.

“The most important thing is to find something that you enjoy and you’ll stick with it,” says Dr. Gladden. “Most of all, exercise should be fun.”

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