Moving to music is one of the oldest forms of expression. Whether you enjoy ballroom or hip-hop, dancing offers far-reaching benefits that include weight loss, muscle toning, improved cognitive skills and stress reduction. There is a lot to recommend aerobic dance as an exercise, but it may not be appropriate for everyone, especially those with joint pain or injuries.
Endurance and Calorie Burning
Dance aerobics is a high-energy workout that aims to improve your cardiovascular endurance. Workouts are typically set to fast-paced music that determines the pace and rhythm of your movements. This approach to exercise helps optimize the amount of calories you burn by keeping your heart rate elevated throughout a session.
Some types of dance aerobics incorporate interval training, or periods of intense effort followed by periods of decreased effort and recovery. This type of cardiovascular workout is particularly effective at revving your metabolism and burning fat.
As a weight-bearing activity, dance aerobics also strengthens your muscles, which leads to a more efficient metabolism for easier weight management. Classes that involve light weights or steps are even more effective for building lean muscle mass.
Aerobic dance requires you to memorize a number of steps. Your instructor may start a workout with one simple movement and add more and more movements to the sequence as the workout progresses. This type of mental training can help you improve your cognitive skills.
People who dance frequently are less likely to develop dementia, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The fast pace of dance aerobics forces you to quickly adapt to sequence changes and remember new steps. In this sense, dance aerobics keeps you on your toes, both physically and mentally.
Social Engagement and Stress Release
Dance aerobics are nearly always held in a class setting, which makes meeting new people with similar fitness interests easy. This is an advantage if you enjoy working out with others and become motivated in a social environment.
All types of exercise help relieve stress, including dancing. Getting lost in the music and the movements can be very freeing and relaxing for many people. In addition, being more engaged socially results in a lower chance of developing depression and an enhanced quality of life.
But for some people group classes can be stressful. You may not feel comfortable exercising with others around you. Dance aerobics classes are generally loud, energetic and sometimes crowded. If this type of environment makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed, this may be a drawback for you.
The repetitive stepping and jumping that dance aerobics involves is not beneficial if you have joint, bone or ligament problems. The jarring impact can take a toll after a while on joints like the knees and ankles and leave you aching and sore after a workout. It may also exacerbate chronic conditions.
Dance aerobics classes that use exercise steps can make it especially difficult for you to keep up if you have joint issues. Most of the movements performed in dance aerobics are high-impact and are not suitable for you if you have weak bones, a history of joint problems or are recovering from an injury.