YES, Dancing Can Be A Full Workout


(haz clic aquí para leer en Español) 

Some time ago I was left a bit uneasy after listening to a fitness podcast from a Panamanian coach. The host talked about her annoyance on the podcast when people asked her if her training sessions involved dancing. To which she replied that she was not a dance instructor and that she simply did not consider dancing to be a form of training.

As a certified personal trainer that also teaches  HIIT and Zumba, I want to cite the reasons why dancing is a form of training and has countless benefits as a workout. 

#1 By Definition, Dance is a Sport 

According to Webster’s dictionary  Sport is 

an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature

Dance is competitive in nature, requires specific skills and even the Olympic committee recognizes it as a sport despite not being in the Olympics.  

#2 Dancing Improves Heart Condition 

A Zumba class allows you to reach a fairly high heart rate in less time than some of the routines you find on the Internet. This is achieved because while working directly with the music, the songs take approximately 145 beats per minute. Rapid movement feels more natural and comfortable as the music plays a major role. Additionally, maintaining physical activity for long periods of up to 60 minutes (with few breaks) makes your heart condition improve.

#3 Yup...Dance Can Create Muscle Strength Too! 

It does not matter which kind of movement you prefer to practice. For both endurance and cardiovascular activities, the human body needs to use the musculoskeletal system. If you study muscles' physiology, you can understand that these have different types of muscle fibers. 

When you do activities such as weight lifting you normally use type II muscle fibers. However, when you do aerobic activities such as running or dancing, the muscle fibers that are used are usually the type I. Therefore to be able to dance for a long time you must train those muscle fibers.

Not only does a dancer need to have a good heart condition to jump and do turns for hours, but also agility, stability, and core strength. Moreover, you need to have strong legs, calves, buttocks, and some cases (depending on the type of dance) arms.

To top it all, a study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared professional ballet dancers to other athletes in terms of physical capabilities. In the study, they were able to observe that dancers had more aerobic capacity and more muscular endurance due to their ability to jump high and spend longer times working on their muscles by constantly rehearsing. So dancers may have the same skills as a football player but are usually underestimated.  

# 4 Dancing Improves Your Memory

By memorizing the steps and sequences of your dance routines, whether, in Zumba or another type of dance, you get to train your memory. But more than that, several studies have shown that dancing is correlated to the possible reduction of dementia and helps motor memory.

YOU Determine The Intensity Of The Workout 

In a dance class, there may also be squats, lunges, burpees, and push-ups (and if you don't believe me, ask any of my students ;)). 

Each instructor has a different style, but usually, in the first class, your brain is trying to assimilate the movements. However, as time goes on and you go to more sessions, you find that we instructors don't change the songs we use in class so often. So when you listen to a song again, you start to remember several of the movements more easily and you can focus on putting much more energy and intensity into each of your steps.

So the bottom line here, is that if you were doubting that your Zumba class could give you benefits when training, you already know there are many. And if you still found yourself with doubts about trying it because you believed that dancing could not compliment your weight lifting regime, you are very wrong ...

Are you in the Netherlands and want to give dancing a chance? Contact me and I will give you my classes’ schedules. If you are abroad, online sessions will be offered soon :)

Now get moving! 

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