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Trend Watch: The Rise of Dance Fitness Classes



It seems every week there is a new type of dance fitness routine, and of course, celebrities are cashing in thanks to their personal dance fitness instructors. Dance fitness routines offer a change of pace from traditional aerobics classes and can be just as beneficial, if not more.

Health benefits

Besides channeling your inner Beyoncé, there are several health benefits to dance fitness routines. The obvious advantage of dancing over, say, powerlifting, is aerobics. Participants will be panting hard for 30 to 60 minutes with most dance routines. Sweating and burning calories for 30 minutes is similar to jogging in efficiency, says Jodi Helmer of WebMD.

Hopefully, consumers have gotten over the myth of targeting problem areas. The idea of doing hundreds of sit-ups a day to burn off belly fat is ridiculous. Even BuzzFeed has made fun of the myth. Staff writer Carolyn Kylstra writes about what should be common knowledge: to lose weight, one must eat properly and exercise to reduce overall body fat.

Dance fitness routines don’t just work the abs. Good routines work everything. Most people finddancing much more fun than boring calisthenics. And sure yoga looks cool, but it takes a lot of time to gain the flexibility required to do advanced poses. Dance classes offer variety without the high-impact harm of CrossFit. The CrossFit craze is too new to have much injury research available, but doctors such as Robert Oh point out that many of the repetitive movements in CrossFit are setting athletes up for injuries. Does anyone actually think jumping on and off a tall box is good for the knees and back? As Brooke Ross wrote for, overdoing a routine and forgetting about proper form, as is often the case with CrossFit, can be very unhealthy.

Dance fitness can improve cardiovascular fitness, increase flexibility, tone muscles and burn calories, according to Helmer. As long as participants drink plenty of water and don’t over train, chances of success without injury are good.

Simple or complicated

Not all dance routines require hours of training to perform. Dance fitness is not “Dancing with the Stars.” Zumba is popular, but not everyone can roll their hips like a Latin ballroom dancer. And that’s okay..

Many dance routines are not complicated at all and can be performed properly after a couple of sessions. With a routine such as the kind Wilde and Beyoncé promote, participants can get great exercise without pulling a muscle or having to breathe in some unnatural yoga way.

For those who like complicated workout routines, advanced step aerobics might be attractive. Those routines involve a lot of counting and stepping on and off the block at all kinds of angles. The complexity level of the routines don’t necessarily impact the workout intensity. If a participant works with maximum effort for the same amount of time doing a simple or complicated routine, the results should be the same. The intensity of the workout is what makes the difference.

To find out whether a routine is providing a healthy amount of exercise, it is best to calculate a person’s target heart rate for aerobic exercise. Dr. Richard Wiel describes the process of calculating an individual’s target heart rate on MedicineNet.

The American Heart Association recommends those new to aerobic routines exercise to 50 percent of the average heart rate and gradually during a period of weeks or months increase up to 85 percent of the average heart rate.

With a target heart rate in mind, it should be easy to measure whether a dance routine is too hard or too easy by wearing a fitness tracker such as a FitBit. This seems like a much more practical method than exercising until nausea or dizziness sets in. Fitness has become more eloquent since Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1970s prime.

What often attract people to dance fitness are the music and the energy of working out in a crowd. Organized classes are great for providing structure and motivation.

DVD solution

For those who don’t have the time, money or interest in paying for a gym membership, DVD exercise videos from Bombay Jam can help. DVD viewers can get plenty of benefits without experiencing some of the unpleasant sounds and smells of a gym. By watching a DVD to workout, users can progress at their own pace, pause a routine to get their form right and gradually build up to doing the full workout without pausing. If after few months, the routine loses its challenge or becomes stale, the user can switch to a new DVD.