Most types of dancing raise your heart rate, making them an aerobic exercise. The amount of calories you burn while dancing depends upon your level of fitness, the type of dancing you do and the intensity of your dance workout. In addition, your current weight affects how many calories you burn while dancing. If you dance vigorously for one hour per day, seven days a week, you can lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Types of Dancing
Doing fast-paced, high-impact aerobics such as hip hop or Zumba burns between 430 and 650 calories per hour, according to NutriStrategy.com. If you weigh more, you will burn more calories. Low-impact aerobics classes burn between 295 and 465 calories per hour. Water aerobics burns less -- between 235 and 370 calories per hour. Jazzercise, which combines low-impact and high-impact moves, burns between 354 and 558 calories per hour. Traditional dance classes such as ballet, tap and jazz burn between 266 and 419 calories per hour. Burn at least 500 calories per day while dancing and you will lose 1 pound per week.
Most dance classes offer a benefit in addition to raising your heart rate. Steps that integrate high kicks, low squats, leg lifts, knee raises, lunges and wide arm movements work the muscles in your arms, shoulders, back, chest and legs. Quick turns, lateral movements, hip rotations and pelvic thrusts strengthen your abdominal muscles. These movements change your body composition, replacing fat with lean muscle. You raise your basal metabolic rate, meaning your body works harder to maintain the muscle, burning more calories throughout your day. Boost your strengthening work while dancing by raising your knees higher, extending your arms and contracting your core muscles.
Intensifying Your Dance Workout
As you lose weight and get fitter, you burn less calories doing the same dance routine. Boost your intensity during a dance workout by picking up your pace. Lengthen your time spent dancing so that you maintain a raised heart rate for an extended time period. Diversify your aerobics routine by adding a step aerobics class, which burns 500 to 790 calories per hour, notes NutriStrategy. Mix in some martial arts such as kickboxing and burn 590 to 930 calories per hour.
Trick your body into burning more calories by interspersing your dance routine with high-speed intervals. Zumba dance classes already incorporate this principal, mixing high-energy numbers with slower routines that use larger movements. If you take a low-intensity class, spend a 30-second break between songs running in place, pretending to jump rope or doing deep-squat jumping jacks. These intense moves raise your heart rate, which stays raised even as you work out at a more moderate pace.