5 Reasons to Put on Your Dancing Shoes Right Now

Article posted in: Fitness
group of women exercising

You could be Electric-sliding your way across a dance floor or letting loose in your living room—it doesn’t matter where you dance, all you know is that it makes you happy when you do. What you may not realize, however, is how good all that jumping, twisting and booty-shaking can be for your health. Here are four more science-backed reasons to crank up your favorite tunes and get foot loose:

1. It burns calories.
On average, a 150-pound person burns about 240 calories per hour when dancing. It could be a little less for slow dances, like the tango; more for something like swing dancing. And to crank up the burn to help you lose weight, try Zumba—a popular fitness class that combines dance and aerobics. According to a study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise, participating in a single Zumba class burned nearly 10 calories per minute; on average, that’s more calories per minute than in other popular group fitness classes, such as step aerobics or Pilates.

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2. Dancing makes you more fit.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago recruited a group of older, sedentary Latinos and broke them up into two groups: some took a dance class (which met twice a week for an hour); the others enrolled in a health education program. After four months of doing a mix of dances, including the meringue and salsa, the people in the dance group completed a 400-meter walk 38 seconds faster than they had at the start of the study; those in health education classes also improved, but only by 10 seconds. The dancers were also more physically active during their leisure time than before they started dancing.

3. It makes your brain sharper.
Dancing regularly may help boost memory and reduce your risk of dementia as you get older, says research published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Other leisure physical activities—such as swimming, biking and bowling—weren’t shown to have the same effect.

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4. It reduces stress.
When your tension levels are up, consider the tango: one Australian study compared the effects of doing the Argentinean dance with mindful meditation and found both activities reduced depression, but only dancing lowered stress levels.

5. Need another reason? How about doing a dance to help stop diabetes….
The American Diabetes Association is daring you to, that’s right—dance. Take the challenge to help spread the word and build support. The Diabetes Dance Dare works like this: Post a video of yourself dancing to a song of your choice for 23 seconds. Why? Because every 23 seconds, another American is diagnosed with Diabetes. Then dare three friends to do the same. For more information, go to www.diabetesdancedare.org.