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Is Freestyle Dancing a Good Exercise?

author image Lily Medina
As a professional copywriter since 2004, Lily Medina researches to expand her expertise in technology, parenting, education, health, fitness and writing. She has also taught high school and worked as a copy editor. Medina majored in political theory at Patrick Henry College.
Is Freestyle Dancing a Good Exercise?
People are dancing in the street. Photo Credit blanaru/iStock/Getty Images

Freestyle dancing offers an excellent type of aerobic exercise; it makes your heart pump faster, works your muscles and makes you breathe faster. You burn calories significantly faster when doing aerobic exercise than when standing or sitting still -- and even faster than when you do more sedentary types of exercising that focus on building muscle, such as weight lifting. As you move your body while dancing, you strengthen your heart, tone your muscles, improve balance and coordination and burn fat.

Freestyle Versus. Stricter Forms of Dance

In the context of exercise, it doesn’t matter what type of dance you choose; if your body moves constantly and energetically, then you’re elevating your heart rate and burning calories. Freestyle dance can even offer better exercise than some stricter forms, since it lets you focus on moving vigorously instead of following careful, less dynamic steps.

In addition, freestyle dance benefits the brain as well as the heart and muscles. Richard Powers, a dance professor at Stanford University, explains that freestyle dance actually requires more brain power. While freestyle dancing, you make rapid decisions about how you move rather than following a predetermined set of steps. Consequently, freestyle dancing reduces the risk of dementia 76 pecent more than any other physical activity.

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Of course, since freestyle dance has no specific characteristics, the amount of exercise it provides varies. To keep your freestyle dancing lively, listen to upbeat, energetic music, and enjoy yourself as you move to the beat.

Move energetically enough that your heart rate rises and you feel a bit sweaty, but don’t dance so vigorously that you lose your breath or can’t speak easily. Keeping your freestyle dance at the level of moderate exercise, rather than intense or anaerobic exercise, helps you sustain the movement for longer periods of time, ultimately burning more calories.

Calories Burned

Depending on your weight, age, height and level of intensity, you could burn between 125 and 250 calories by dancing for half an hour. The American Council on Exercise points out that fairly energetic dancing, such as some types of freestyle dancing, burns calories as efficiently as light jogging.

Benefits of Freestyle Dancing

Dancing of any sort offers an advantage over other types of exercise: It’s fun. When you’re dancing to music, the movements can feel inspired, rather than forced. The urge to move often wells up naturally when you listen to upbeat music, and as you dance, the music provides constant stimulation, encouragement and reinforcement.

Freestyle dancing is easy to do anytime, anywhere; you don’t need a dance floor, a partner, a set length of time or a wide space. You can dance standing in front of your desk or in the middle of your kitchen. Freestyle dances easily fits into your day, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there. Dancing whenever you hear music keeps you active, increasing the calories you burn daily and enhancing your overall metabolism.

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