Dance Fitness Program

Dance Fitness & Weight Loss Program

dance class

Dance fitness and weight loss programs are extremely popular in the United States. The ability to participate in an exercise program that focuses on performing dance movements at a high energy level has captured the attention of millions of individuals that are looking to effectively lose weight.

One reason for the popularity of dance-oriented aerobic fitness programs is that many individuals find that the movements are fun to perform, highly motivating, boredom-free and burn a high number of calories per exercise session.

Individuals that participate in dance-oriented fitness programs receive an excellent cardiovascular workout and high-quality muscle toning, all while learning dance moves and enjoying the overall process.

Also known as “beat-based” fitness, dance fitness is basically the process of exercising through the movement of dance-oriented steps associated with music. Created to assist individuals that are not motivated by traditional cardiovascular workouts, or that are looking to add variety to their existing workout, dance fitness allows you to achieve an aerobic effect while genuinely enjoying the process. Not only does dance fitness help to sculpt and tone your muscles, it also reduces the boredom that can come from performing the same workout routine day in and day out.

Types of Movements

Dance fitness provides motivation to continue working out on a regular basis. There is no single dance type that you must choose, but rather a large variety of dance classes that you can sample and select based on your preferences. Dance fitness classes are offered at fitness centers, dance centers and even community centers. In addition, several companies have produced dance-oriented aerobic workouts that can be purchased in DVD or VHS form and performed in the comfort of your own home.

There are several dance types to choose from when deciding which type of dance fitness best fits your personal fitness goals and your personal taste. The more common types of dance fitness are as follows:

  • Ballet Dance Fitness Classes are ideal for adults and adolescents. They’re designed to improve posture and increase flexibility in your muscles, ligaments and tendons. Ballet-oriented dance fitness classes also increase muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance, and promote grace, poise and elegance in your movements.

  • Basic Ballroom Dance Fitness Classes involve performing the basic steps associated with various types of ballroom dances like the Cha-Cha, Foxtrot, Jive, Quickstep, Rumba, Salsa, Samba, Tango and the Waltz. Each of these ballroom dance types focus on improving flexibility, balance, coordination, cardiovascular endurance and muscular tone.

  • Belly Dancing Fitness Classes can be performed by virtually anyone regardless of their age, body weight or size. Known for its focus on the abdominal muscles and developing core strength, belly dancing also works your back muscles near the pelvic floor while toning your thighs, hips, glutes and hamstrings. Performing a belly dancing exercise routine is also excellent for improving posture and flexibility, and toning the muscles. Belly dancing routines can also be used to calm and relax the mind.

  • Hip-Hop Dance Fitness Classes receive their inspiration from break dancing, street dancing and jazz, and emphasize rhythm and high energy when performed. Hip-hop dance fitness classes tend to burn a high number of calories, and are tailored to individuals who enjoy hip-hop music and are looking to lose excess body weight. Loose-fitting, comfortable clothing is recommended when performing a hip-hop dance fitness class.

  • Jazz Dance Fitness Classes are among the more popular types of dance and can be performed by those of virtually any age. Jazz-style dance fitness classes improve cardiovascular endurance, increase muscular tone and improve balance and flexibility.

  • Pure Latin Dance Fitness Classes are typically performed by couples or individuals with a partner. Pure Latin dance-oriented classes include dance styles like the Cha-Cha, Jive, Rumba, Salsa and Samba. Like many other dance styles, pure Latin dance styles promote improvements in cardiovascular endurance, muscle tone, balance and coordination. In addition, these types of dance movements tend to be sophisticated, high energy and enjoyable to perform.

  • Salsa Dance Fitness Classes are a fusion of funk, hip-hop, jazz, reggae and samba, and are divided into two types – Solo Salsa and Couples Salsa. Solo Salsa is performed with a fast beat to Latin pop or salsa music, and each step is further divided into sub-steps to allow for easier execution of movements. Couples Salsa is, of course, performed with a partner. Each individual performs a specific series of movements in conjunction with their partner. Both types of salsa dance fitness classes are designed to improve coordination, balance, muscular tone and cardiovascular endurance. There are several different styles of salsa that can be performed. The different styles typically include variations in step patterns, timing of the actual steps, attitude and dress code, to name a few.

  • Street Dance Fitness Classes utilize several different styles of dance and are typically performed with a high level of energy. Street dance fitness classes promote cardiovascular and muscular development and require balance and coordination between the participants. In addition, the high energy nature of the dance routines are an excellent way to relieve stress and calm the mind.

  • Tap Dance Fitness Classes are performed by individuals of all age groups throughout the world. Tap dance fitness classes are an outstanding activity for improving balance, coordination, endurance and muscular tone. Tap dancing fitness classes require appropriate shoes to truly perform the movements correctly, and to get the full effect of the dance routine.

  • Line Dance Fitness Classes can be performed by all age groups and provide an excellent workout that is fun and energizing. Line dancing is considered a low impact form of exercise despite the fact that your heart rate will rise quickly. Many of the movements in line dancing exercise the muscles of your legs, core and arms.

Each of the different dance styles incorporate several similar movements and concepts, though each is unique in its own way. For this reason, you will want to evaluate each of the dance types to determine which of them best suits not only your personal fitness goals, but also your personality. Learning the dance technique associated with each of the dance styles will require discipline, as does working out in general. As with any fitness routine, it may be beneficial to exercise with a workout partner or companion in order to remain dedicated to your workout. In several instances, the dance classes actually require a partner.

Targeted Muscles

dance class

In general, all dance-oriented fitness routines will emphasize cardiovascular endurance. However, to a varying degree, each type of dance class will exercise virtually all of your muscles. While all of the dance types will emphasize the core and lower body muscles, some of the classes will also work the chest, shoulders and arms as well.

In addition, several of the dance-oriented classes utilize a pair of dumbbells. In this case, additional focus will be placed on conditioning and strengthening the arms, shoulders and chest muscles. All in all, each dance type will tone your entire body, reduce excess body weight, improve cardiovascular endurance and increase flexibility, balance and coordination.

Always remember to properly warm up and stretch before performing your dance exercise routine. By doing so, your body will better prepared, you will reduce the probability of injury, and you will enjoy a much more effective workout. Following the actual dance exercise workout, you should perform a cool-down routine. In many instances, dance-oriented classes add an abdominal exercise routine to the end of the dance class.

Aerobic Effect

Exercising and conditioning the entire cardiovascular system is probably the single greatest health benefit derived from performing a dance-oriented fitness class. This being said, your goal should be to achieve an aerobic effect each and every time you perform your dance-oriented workout. What this means is that you will want to achieve and maintain your target heart rate for a minimum of 20 consecutive minutes.

Required Equipment

Relatively little equipment is necessary for dance-oriented workouts. However, there are differences in the equipment that is required when comparing the various dance types. For example, an individual that is going to begin performing ballet dance classes may be required to purchase tights and a leotard. Tap dancers may be required to purchase tap dancing shoes. It is recommended that you discuss the equipment requirements with the instructor prior to committing to and beginning a dance-oriented class.

Regardless of the dance style you choose, you should always wear nonrestrictive clothing that wicks sweat and moisture away from your body. In addition, you will want to make sure that you have a good pair of shoes and a water bottle to ensure that you stay hydrated.


There are several physical and mental benefits associated with regularly performing a dance-oriented fitness class. To a varying degree, each of the dance styles will burn a reasonable number of calories per exercise session. This will promote effective and safe weight loss. In addition, improvements will be seen in cardiovascular condition and endurance. As you continue to participate in the dance classes, you will see improvements in balance, flexibility, coordination and rhythm. Improvements will also be seen in muscular tone, especially in the core and lower body areas. Other physical benefits include maintained or increased bone density and a reduction in blood pressure.

Dance-oriented classes are meant to be challenging but enjoyable. Many individuals find that performing dance calms their mind, alleviates stress and creates a greater sense of mental well-being.

The amount of calories burned per exercise session will vary based on several factors. These factors include the type of dance class performed, level of intensity, duration of the exercise session and the weight and age of the individual. In general, an individual weighing 150 pounds should expect to burn between 150 and 500 calories per 30-minute exercise session, depending on intensity.

The primary focus of any type of workout program is to exercise your body, burn calories, improve cardiovascular endurance and tone and strengthen your muscles. However, dance-oriented fitness programs also focus on making the exercise routines fun and exciting, reducing boredom. With so many dance types available, choosing one that’s suited to your personal fitness goals and your personality will help you to stay interested and dedicated to your workout routine.

dance class

Today, most fitness centers, dance studios and community athletic centers offer a free initial dance class to allow you to determine whether the dance style is for you. There are also countless DVD/VHS dance programs available that teach dance fitness. Many dance videos include the dance fitness types discussed in this article and describe in detail the types of movements to perform.

Dance fitness has proven to be an effective exercise type that literally millions of individuals perform daily to improve their overall fitness level, safely and effectively lose weight, increase their cardiovascular endurance, and improve their mental well-being.

Whether you haven’t exercised in several years or you’re simply looking to add an additional form of exercise to your current routine, dance-oriented exercise classes are well worth considering.

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