Dance your way to fitness – Why dance is the best form of exercise

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Dancing leaves you feeling excited as you sweat profusely on the dancefloor after those shakes and shimmies. With the energy exerted in dancing, the number of health benefits that come from dancing is no surprise.

A report by the University of Brighton revealed that dancing every 30 minutes helps you burn more than 300 calories. According to the same information, this is more than the calories burnt when you jog or swim. Even less aggressive types of dance burn the same amount of calories as when you ride a bike.

Dancing is no joke, especially when you do it for long hours. A lot of energy is needed because you are required to move in different directions. While, other forms of exercise, such as swimming, jogging, etc., use momentum and rhythm to help you move. The repetitive acceleration and deceleration in dancing push your body beyond its limits.

When the body starts, stops, and changes direction, it burns more calories than when you move and cover ground.

Think of it this way, when you choose to run as exercise, and it’s like you’re driving a car on a completely free road. But, on the other hand, when you dance, it’s like you a navigating a motor through a city full of traffic.

It is important to note that the number of calories you use during any workout depends on how hard you work. For example, doing just three steps of azonto will not measure up against an intense jog on the mountain. Therefore, if you choose dance as your fitness route, you must be fully engaged. You need to concentrate fully and move the body parts fully to enjoy the full health benefits of dancing.

The lateral movements of dancing activate and improve the muscles and tendons in your body which have little support.

Just like any other type of cardiovascular exercise, dancing doesn’t just improve your physical state. It also has psychological benefits as it improves your mood and brain. For example, research in 2007 shows that hip-hop dance moves improve bad mood, lower stress, and improve energy.

A study by Aging Neuroscience conducted more recently established that there was a link between dancing and the brain’s white matter. The white matter in the brain is a connective tissue that usually deteriorates as you age. As the white matter becomes weaker, you lose your processing speed and have issues with your memory and thinking. Dancing improves the white matter, especially in older adults.

The psychological gains of dancing are a lot more. For some time now, therapists have opted to use dancing as a treatment for patients struggling with fear of public speaking or social anxiety.

The thinking behind it was that if you could feel free and be yourself and dance in front of strangers, then you’re on the right track to adapting to the idea of speaking in front of a vast audience. Studies from the 20th century also back the thought that dancing helps people who have anxiety.

Another advantage of dancing is how it allows people to bond with each other. The same way you easily connect with people you share things with is how dancing connects people. Grooving and moving to the same beat sends signals to your brain that helps connect people.

A study conducted by the University of Oxford revealed that when two strangers dance together, barriers are blurred, which helps them to connect and feel the same.

Some dances, such as salsa, Samba, etc., come with the need for touch. When you’re an infant, one of the first senses you experience is touch. This is why activities that include touching, such as massage and dance, helps in reducing anxiety and stress.

When you put all the information above together, it becomes evident you could use some more dancing, especially in the gym. So here are some dances that can help you to become fitter.

Afro Dance

Dance your way to fitness

Afro dance is a newer form of dance making waves, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The engaging dance style is an evolution of ancient traditional dance moves after the emergence of Afrobeats music.

Afro dance combines moves from salsa and hip hop. The energetic beat and rhythm in Afrobeats music make the dance more attractive.

There is a variation of afro dance moves as different countries and dancers will execute the dance differently. However, no matter how different, the dance still holds high cultural value. A considerable amount of afro dancers see the dance as a form of communication rather than entertainment.

Health Benefits of Afro Dance

Works your cardio – The energetic nature of Afro dance makes it one of the most effective cardio exercises. The constant movement keeps your pulse up and opens up your blood vessels, and helps keep you active throughout the day.

Helps you lose weight – Doing afro dance for an extended period makes you sweat abundantly throughout the whole session. This helps you burn the necessary calories, especially if you want to shed off a few kilograms.

Improves your memory- Afro dance moves require moving your body to a beat. To successfully do that, you need a lot of repetitive mental training to remember the dance moves. Learning so many combinations and routines pushes your brain to the limit, essentially improving how well you can store information.

It puts you in a good mood – Afro dance is a good source of entertainment, and the fun attached cannot be experienced anywhere else. In addition, afro dance can be challenging to learn at times, so you feel very accomplished once you start to master it. Also, dancing leads to your body releasing dopamine, a hormone that leaves you feeling good.


Dance your way to fitness

Samba is a colorful and vigorous type of dance that Brazilians invented. The dance is most often used during carnivals, festivals, or dinners. It can be performed alone or with a partner and involves a heavy reliance on the feet, with the dance requiring so many steps. The dance also works the hips and core since the lower body makes a lot of the movements.

Health benefits of Samba

Improves body stamina – Samba dance is a good way to keep your body physically active. The constant movement works your body’s stamina, improving it in the process. In addition, how energy-sapping salsa can help you develop a second wind gives you more endurance.

Makes the heart better: Samba dance does a good job of keeping your heart rate high. There is barely any rest time during the dance routines, which makes it a lot more engaging. The dance also helps you to improve the strength of your cardiovascular muscles.

Helps tone muscles: Sometimes, you want to lose a bit of weight first before you build your muscle. Samba can help you achieve that once you’re dedicated. Constant samba dance lessons help you tone your muscles as it shapes them up. You will also have the chance to build more muscle in your core and lower body as you, Samba.


Dance your way to fitness

Ballet is a type of dance that works out the entire body. It improves your physical form by making your muscles stronger and boosts your cognitive functions like concentration. In addition, Ballet is a slower form of dance that serves as a healing therapy sometimes.

Health benefits of Ballet

Improves concentration: To be a good ballet dancer, you need a lot of concentration in class. You need to make sure you have the right posture, timing, rhythm, and coordination. Ballet, in particular, forces your body to release endorphins which help the brain function properly. As a result, you are in the perfect state of mind during Ballet because your body gets more oxygen and gets rid of tension and toxins.

Improves your metabolism: The metabolism rate of each individual is different, but one thing is certain, and that’s Ballet will make the rate quicker. The movements in Ballet make it the total exercise as you work on breathing which improves circulation. A better rate and more activity for the muscles help in raising your metabolism rate. Research shows that dancing such as Ballet improves your metabolism by 3-6 times more than your metabolism when you’re resting.

Makes balance better: Ballet helps with the overall balance of your body in several ways. The key to having a good body balance and posture has a strong core. Ballet exercises help in strengthening your core muscles. Also, controlling the body posture, turns, leg lifts, and back movements improves your balance. In addition, Ballet in its raw form needs the body to be balanced. By balancing the body through Ballet, it is improved because the muscles that are required to balance are being strengthened. Ballet also makes you more flexible, giving you more control over your body.


Lesté, A., and J. Rust. “Effects of Dance on Anxiety.” Perceptual and Motor Skills, vol. 58, no. 3, 1 June 1984, pp. 767–772,, 10.2466/pms.1984.58.3.767.

Kim, Sungwoon, and Jingu Kim. “Mood after Various Brief Exercise and Sport Modes: Aerobics, Hip-Hop Dancing, ICE Skating, and Body Conditioning.” Perceptual and Motor Skills, vol. 104, no. 3_suppl, June 2007, pp. 1265–1270, 10.2466/pms.104.4.1265-1270.

Voloshina, A. S., and D. P. Ferris. “Biomechanics and Energetics of Running on Uneven Terrain.” Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 218, no. 5, 23 Jan. 2015, pp. 711–719, 10.1242/jeb.106518. Accessed 4 Feb. 2021.