Shake Off Quarantine Fatigue With This Low-Impact Dance Workout

This low-impact dance cardio workout will get your heart rate up while moving your muscles and joints for better balance and strength.
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Most people think of dancing as a high-impact exercise, but you might find yourself surprised at how gentle dance cardio can really be.

"Dance fitness is great for your range of motion and flexibility, as well as strengthening the stability muscles surrounding your joints," says Kaley Hatfield, a professional dancer, choreographer and certified personal trainer.

Plus, "dancing releases the same 'happy endorphins' as any exercise," and when you nix high-impact moves like jumping, it can be a great low-impact workout for beginners and seasoned athletes alike, she says.

Dancing is especially beneficial for beginners and seniors because it helps improve balance and coordination — two essential skills for fitness and longevity. Dancing even has benefits for the brain, including improved memory and focus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you feel intimidated by or excluded from dance cardio because you need low-impact exercise, Hatfield reassures you that dance is accessible to everyone, regardless of fitness level. "The goal is to just keep moving those hips and feet, even if you can't jump," she says.

Hatfield created this low-impact dance cardio workout that's challenging but doable for all fitness levels. Despite the lack of jumping, skipping and hopping, you'll still get a great workout — and it won't even feel like exercise!

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A Low-Impact Dance Cardio Workout

This low-impact dance cardio workout follows a classic interval format: 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest. You'll perform 6 low-impact dance moves for 30 seconds each, resting after each movement. Do the whole circuit for 3 rounds for a quick 18-minute workout, 4 rounds for a 24-minute workout or 5 rounds for a 30-minute workout.

Do:

  • Twisting step over
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Lateral walking squat and ground touch
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Oblique high knee and crossing high knee
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Side punch and tap
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Prisoner arm extension with side step
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Sumo squat and heel tap
  • Rest 30 seconds
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Do:​ Follow along with Hatfield in the video provided. You'll go through a series of deep stretches to prime your body for the workout.

Move 1: Twisting Step Over

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Time 30 Sec
Type Cardio
  1. Stand with your feet in a narrow stance (stacked beneath your hips). Hold your arms by your sides with elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Take a breath and engage your core.
  2. Bring your left knee up slightly, bending the knee, and step your left foot inward, twisting your torso to bring it across your midline.
  3. Tap your left foot on the ground in front of your right foot and bring it back to the center.
  4. Follow with your right foot — bring your right knee up, bending the knee slightly, and step your right foot inward, twisting your torso to bring it across your midline.
  5. Tap your right foot to the ground in front of your left foot and bring it back to the center.
  6. Repeat steps 2 through 5, starting with your right leg.
  7. Complete 2 reps (1 on each side) at a slow pace, and then 4 reps (2 on each side) at a fast pace.
  8. Continue alternating for 30 seconds.

Move 2: Lateral Walking Squat and Ground Touch

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Time 30 Sec
Type Cardio
  1. Hinge your hips back and bend your knees to descend into a quarter- or half-squat. Keep your chest high and core tight.
  2. Take 3 side steps to the left, starting with your left foot.
  3. After the last walking squat, touch your right hand to the ground outside of your left foot, extending your right leg out to the side for balance. Try to tap your right hand and foot to the ground simultaneously.
  4. Come back to the center and take 3 side steps to the right, starting with your right foot.
  5. Touch your left hand to the ground outside of your right foot, extending your left leg out for balance.
  6. Continue steps 2 through 5 for 30 seconds. Challenge yourself to remain in the squat stance for the full interval.

Move 3: Oblique Crossing High Knee and Side Crunch

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Time 30 Sec
Type Cardio
  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Place your hands behind your head with your fingers clasped and elbows out to the sides. This is called the prisoner stance.
  3. Drive your left knee toward your right elbow and then your right elbow toward your left knee. Your knee and elbow should meet around chest height.
  4. Return to the center.
  5. Bring your left knee toward your left elbow for a side crunch.
  6. Return to the center.
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 (cross crunch followed by side crunch) with your right leg.
  8. Continue alternating for 30 seconds.

Move 4: Prisoner Arm Extension With Side Step

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Time 30 Sec
Type Cardio
  1. Start in the prisoner stance with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Turn to the left and squeeze your elbows together in front of your face. At the same time, step your right foot out into a side step. Remember to keep your core tight.
  3. Return to the center and quickly turn to the right, squeezing your elbows together and stepping your left foot out into a side step.
  4. Continue alternating for 30 seconds.

Move 5: Prisoner Back Pulse

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Time 30 Sec
Type Cardio
  1. Starting in the prisoner stance, step your feet out into a wide stance. Bend your hips and knees just slightly. Your feet will stay planted for this dance move.
  2. Simultaneously squeeze your shoulder blades back and thrust your hips forward. Quickly return to the center, then bring your elbows forward and send your hips back.
  3. Continue this back-and-forth pulse motion for 30 seconds.

Move 6: Sumo Squat and Heel Tap

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Time 30 Sec
Type Cardio
  1. Stand with your feet in a wide stance, knees and toes pointed outward about 45 degrees. Descend into a half-squat. This is called the sumo position.
  2. Place your right hand behind your head and lean to the left, tapping the ground with your left hand.
  3. Return to the center, then place your left hand behind your head and lean to the right, tapping the ground with your right hand.
  4. Continue alternating for 30 seconds. Challenge yourself to stay in the sumo squat stance for the entire interval.
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Do:​ Follow along with Hatfield in the video. She provides a series of gentle stretches to help your body wind down from the low-impact dance cardio workout.

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