Shimmying, wiggling and undulating your belly provides a solid core workout and could help you lose fat, especially when combined with healthy eating. On its own, however, belly dancing exercise won't give you a flat stomach.
People of all shapes and sizes belly dance, and the swanky moves help you burn calories — which, in turn, can lead to a flatter stomach. Belly dancing doesn't compensate for poor dietary choices, binge drinking or a sedentary lifestyle, though.
When combined with a balanced diet and workout regimen, belly dancing may flatten your stomach. The key is to be consistent, stick to your workouts and eat clean. Be aware, though, that you'll lose weight overall, not just from your belly.
Is Belly Dance Exercise Effective?
Becoming more physically active while maintaining or reducing your calorie intake facilitates weight loss. However, this doesn't mean you'll automatically get a perfectly flat stomach, but your waistline will shrink somewhat along with other parts of your body.
Like any type of exercise, the calories burned with belly dancing depend on how much you do it and how intensely you dance.
To lose notable weight, some of which will come off your stomach, you must create a calorie deficit through diet, exercise or both. To put it simply, it's necessary to burn more calories than you take in.
The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week to maintain health. If your goal is to torch fat, start there and then increase workout intensity or duration. This will likely cause you to burn more energy than you consume.
Be aware, though, that you can't lose fat from your belly only. Spot reduction is just a myth, as the American Council on Exercise and other health organizations point out. As long as you have a calorie deficit, whether it comes from exercising, reducing your calorie intake or both, you'll lose fat overall. Your arms will get leaner, your waist will shrink and your legs will look more defined.
Of course, to make sure this happens, you'll have to keep tabs on what you eat. Moderate portion sizes are important, as is limiting your intake of sugars, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates.
Burn Calories With Belly Dancing
The calories burned during exercise, including dancing, depend on your weight, workout duration, intensity and other factors, so it's hard to give an exact number. The more intense your workout (or dance class), the higher your energy expenditure.
If you take a class that emphasizes technique and drills, such as hip circles and camels, you're going to burn fewer calories. Going for a full hour of serious dancing takes serious stamina and ab control too.
It will take more than one or two belly dancing classes per week to burn the calories necessary to lose weight and get a flatter stomach. A pound of fat equals approximately 3,500 calories, according to the Mayo Clinic and other health experts.
As mentioned earlier, you must create a calorie deficit to burn fat. If you aren't vigorously dancing daily, supplement it with other cardio exercises, such as hiking, bike riding or other forms of dance, to boost your energy expenditure.
Belly Dance Workout Ideas
Belly dancing does involve serious manipulation of your hips and abdomen, which builds endurance, muscle and strength. But you can't directly burn off fat from any area, including your stomach. This form of exercise might improve the definition in your abs, which you will see once you lose extra padding, but it won't work some spot-reducing magic.
Read more: The Burn Fat Faster Workout
Try a few belly dance exercise ideas to strengthen your core and burn fat:
- Hip Rolls: Stand feet hip-distance apart and let your hands float slightly to the sides of your body. Cock your hips right, forward, left and back. Make the movement smooth and fluid and then repeat in the opposite direction.
- Camels: Stand with your arms at your sides and push your chest forward by drawing your shoulder blades back. Then start to make an "S"-like motion by pulling the belly in, tucking the pelvis and pressing your shoulders forward.
- Figure Eights: Lean to the right as you lift your right hip and heel. Return to center with grounded feet and repeat on the left. Find a fluidity to the transition between sides as you move to the music.