How Long Should I Dance to Burn 500 Calories?

You may not ever qualify as a contest on "So You Think You Can Dance", but if you let your inner dancing diva out to play, you can burn some serious calories. Dance is an excellent form of aerobic conditioning and enjoyable enough for some people that they don't consider it exercise. The number of calories burned depends on your weight, the length of time you dance and how intense the workout is.

Two people are salsa dancing. Credit: blanaru/iStock/Getty Images

Benefits of Dance

Dancing can provide cardiovascular conditioning, which can help lower your risk of coronary heart disease, lower blood pressure and help you manage your weight, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. It is also weight-bearing, which improves bone density, muscle strength, coordination and balance. In addition, a number of people have experienced psychological benefits from dance. It reduces stress and fatigue and improves energy and mood, and can increase your self-confidence.

Calories Burned

A person weighing 155 pounds would need to do fast ballroom dancing for approximately one hour and 25 minutes to burn just over 500 calories, according to Harvard Health. If that person were doing slow ballroom dancing, they should dance for about two hours and 25 minutes to burn 500 calories. A 155-pound person would need to do aerobic or fast-paced dancing for approximately one hour and 10 minutes to burn approximately 500 calories.


Zumba was created accidentally by fitness instructor Alberto Perez when he forgot to take his traditional aerobics music to a class one day. He improvised with his own mix of music tapes in his backpack, which included the salsa and merengue music he grew up with. The Latin-inspired dance program lets the music move you with its energizing but easy-to-follow steps. A 150 pound individual will burn 540 calories an hour with Zumba.


If you are just taking up dancing, start with a beginner class to minimize the risk of injury, and concentrate on improving your flexibility and balance before advancing to high-impact movements. Since there are so many different styles of dancing and dance-fitness classes available, it should be easy to find something that aligns with your goals, preferences and fitness level.

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