Dancing is without a doubt one of the most fun forms of exercise, but did you know it’s also a great way to lose weight? Dancing away the pounds may seem hard to believe, but high intensity dance classes are actually an awesome way to burn calories and tone your muscles. Here are some tips on how to maximize your weight loss and meet your fitness goals by dancing.
Target More Muscles in Less Time
Dance doesn’t always feel like exercise, but even a night in the club can help whittle your waistline. Other high intensity workouts and weight training exercises target one primary muscle group for a few moments before moving on to the next, but dance targets a wide variety of muscle groups in a shorter amount of time. No need to remember which day is leg day — every day is leg day, arm day, and even abs day during dance class!
The variety of movement in dance tones your body as you move, leading to longer, leaner muscles over time. This can give the appearance of a slimmer body even if the number on the scale doesn’t move; a high intensity hip hop class can shed extra body fat but also increase your endurance and build muscle, particularly in areas like your thighs, glutes, and abs. Plus, practicing dance can improve your posture, which makes anyone look taller and thinner.
Did we mention that the recovery time following a dance class is less painful than other exercises as well? While your arms might feel like jelly after an hour of lifting, an hour of dance is a full-body workout, meaning that your muscle strain is spread throughout your body. You may feel sore — especially in your core and legs — but overall, recovery time is quicker following a high intensity dance class than, say, high intensity interval training.
Develop a Dancing Habit
Any exercise done regularly can help you lose weight; however, after routinely doing the same exercises, it’s important to increase the intensity to keep your workout effective. While dancing, you are in control of the intensity of your movements, which allows you to improve at your own pace. Once certain moves become familiar, you’ll likely to find yourself putting more energy into the motion than you did when you first learned it.
Generally speaking, approximately 150 minutes of dance a week can help you start losing weight with a healthy diet. Creating any exercise habit can be challenging, but dance is frequently an easier habit to form and keep up with than other exercise regiments because it stays exciting and new. New routines, opportunities for improvisation, and constantly changing tempos keep dance from boring your mind or your body!
New moves can target muscle areas you didn’t even know you have, so while you’re becoming a better dancer, your workout is different every time. This is far different from most forms of cardio, like running or biking, where the motion targets the same muscles and remains the same each time.
The necessary warm-up and cool-down in dance class helps prevent injuries by properly stretching your muscles. Many warm-ups include combinations used in yoga, pilates, and other lower intensity exercise forms; these stretches are great for improving your flexibility. Once your body normalizes stretching, you’re more likely to stretch effectively throughout your day.
According to recent research, dancing is not only good for your body; it’s a great way to improve your mental, social, and emotional health. A high intensity dance class at Banana Skirt can certainly help you burn more calories in less time than activities like biking or swimming, but it can also improve your memory, reduce stress, and increase your confidence.
Dance Full-Out Instead of Marking
Many new dancers hold back in their first few classes, either out of embarrassment over doing a step wrong or fear of injury. The best way to turn your dance routine into a workout, however, is to get your heart rate up! Hip hop dance is the perfect way to rev up your body, but make sure the intensity of your workout goes beyond the intensity of the music. While it is important to always be safe while dancing, trust your body and allow yourself to move freely and fully for the best exercise, rather than holding back out of fear.
Dancers are told to make almost every move big! Instead of simply moving your arm, put your entire body into the motion to make it more effective. Tighten your core throughout the routine and start to feel the burn. Whether you’re dancing in class, practicing in front of the mirror at home, or showing off your new moves at the club, make sure to engage your muscles and dance all out! As your body’s muscle memory improves, your brain is more capable of expanding on previous moves and combinations, giving you a more well-rounded workout and helping you focus on activating new muscle groups.
Speed Up Your Workout
An hour at the gym might sound like torture, but an hour in class will be over before you know it! While a dance class will make you sweat, these classes are also specifically designed to keep your brain constantly engaged and your body constantly moving for over an hour. Form is less stringent in hip hop dance than in other forms of exercise, so if you’re struggling to master a dance move, simply move on to the next one. Score a space up front and watch the teacher instead of the mirror to follow along.
The momentum of your favorite song can keep you moving as well. While some classes focus on learning a routine to one song, others incorporate a hip hop mix with a high BPM, or beats per minute, count that motivates you to keep moving. This means that, even when you’re exhausted after one song ends, you’re more inspired to keep moving when the next song starts.
Plus, dancing in class with other people can be great for your health as well! According to Philadelphia-based health coach Megan McElroy, “dance classes are especially perfect for extrinsically motivated individuals, as they are much less likely to succeed with an at-home workout plan when they have no accountability, but typically respond great to anything with outside accountability.” Accountability speeds up your results and makes you more likely to keep up with your health goals, so grab a friend and jump into class!
Losing weight can be challenging, but finding an exercise regiment that you enjoy is key to reach your desired weight. Dance cardio might be just the thing to motivate you after work! Try a Banana Skirt class and start shedding the pounds today.
About Banana Skirt Productions
Channel your inner PopStar and dance yourself into sizzling shape at Banana Skirt Productions, the studio Shape Magazine deems “perfect for anyone who feels like cardio can be torture…an instant mood booster and a serious workout.”
Selected as one of the “Biggest Fitness Trends of 2017” by Elle UK, Banana Skirt offers a one-of-a-kind dance cardio experience led by a team of ultra-energetic, fun, and friendly professional dance instructors. Banana Skirt offers 4 distinct classes to give you flat abs, lean legs, a toned seat, and soaring energy:
Starpop Fitness breaks down the exact moves from your favorite music videos or concert performances while whittling your body and boosting your confidence.
Cise (Beyoncercise, Britneycise…) and Bandz A Make Her Dance are calorie-torching HIIT classes that combine heart-pumping signature moves with calisthenic toners.
Ratchet Fitness is a watch & follow class that feels like your best night out, under club lights and a stress-busting playlist.
Banana Skirt hosts fun and lively fitness classes that increase your stamina and endurance. This constant motion helps build endurance and increases your aerobic capacity while you have fun learning the choreography and burning calories.
No previous dance experience required — just an open mind, a desire to have lots of fun, and the passion to move your body like a popstar!