Dancing is an excellent choice of exercise for weight loss, as much for its fun factor as for the calories you burn. That said, 30 minutes of moderate exercise every weekday only just meets professional recommendations for everyday health; if you want to actually lose weight, you'll probably need to put in more dance time or up your intensity. Monitoring your calorie intake can help you reach your weight-loss goal faster.
The more calories you burn, the faster you'll lose weight. While some factors that determine your calorie burn are completely or partially out of your control at any one moment -- such as age, gender and body composition -- you can control your choice of dance and how intensely you pursue it. As a general rule, faster, more vigorous dancing -- such as a challenging ballet class or doing the twist -- can burn up to twice as many calories as slower dances such as the waltz.
Diet Matters, Too
Weight loss is a matter of burning more calories through exercise than you take in from your diet. Burn 3,500 more calories than you've consumed, and you'll have lost a pound of weight. According to figures from Harvard Health Publications, burning that many calories could take from seven to 11 hours of ballroom or square dancing. A healthy, monitored diet will ensure that you're well nourished but still keep you from consuming enough calories to negate all that dancing you just did.