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Dance Fitness: Bust a Move, Not the Scales!

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

dance fitness

Getting tired of the same old fitness routine? Why not try a dance class? Dance fitness is a great way to get your body moving and improve your aerobic fitness and strength!

Plus, learning new dance moves will keep your mind engaged so that you won’t even feel like you’re working out.

You don’t have to have a dance background to join a dance fitness class.

There are tons of introductory courses to get you started.

Or, if you are reluctant to jump right into a group class, you can even try dance videos or online classes that you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Ready to get started with dance fitness? Keep reading!

Did you know you can “green” your fitness? Check out these eco-friendly workouts!

Dance Your Way Into A Healthier Lifestyle

Dance fitness is a great way to improve your overall health.

A recent 2020 study found that Zumba dance improved a number of health factors in sedentary women, including mental health, physical fitness, and quality of life

There are all sorts of styles of dance that you can incorporate into your exercise routine.

The first step is choosing a dance class, and then the fun begins!

If you are looking to get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular fitness, you will want to choose a more fast-paced dance class like Zumba.

On the other hand, if you are aiming to increase your mobility and flexibility, you may want to opt for slower-paced classes like yoga dance or Barre.

Here are some of the top dance fitness classes to try out if you are looking for a new approach to your workout program.

Cardio Fitness

These dance workouts are more intense and fast-paced.

Cardio dance workouts will get your heart racing and improve cardiovascular fitness to the greatest extent.

Of course, you will also be building great lower body and core strength as well.

Examples include:

  • Zumba: Zumba is a fast-paced cardio workout based on Latin dance that will have you breaking a sweat in no time.
  • Jazzercise: Like Zumba, this is another aerobic dance class, however, is inspired by jazz dance.
  • Hip Hop Dance Fitness: These high-intensity workouts are set to hip hop music and can range from house dance, break dancing, and street dancing.

Learn about the best types of cardio for fat loss and the science behind cardio for WOMEN!

Barre Workouts

You have probably seen Barre classes advertised at your local gym.

While these classes are ballet-inspired, you don’t need pointy shoes or any background in ballet to participate.

These workouts incorporate elements of yoga, Pilates, and strength training to improve balance, posture, and flexibility.

Plus, these workouts will build stability and core strength.

Barre workouts tend to include high reps of isolating pulse-like movements to really burn out your muscles.

These are excellent low-impact, moderate-intensity classes.

They don’t provide as much of the hard impact cardio but are a great addition to any fitness routine to really hone in on core strength and balance.

Mind-Body Dance

Mind-body dance classes are lower impact and intensity and focus more on stability, balance, and flexibility.

Since a lot of these workouts incorporate aspects of yoga or tai chi, they also help reduce stress and improve mental health as well.

Yoga Trance Dance

This is a form of mind-body dance.

These workouts incorporate elements of yoga into a flowing routine.

Classes are more low-impact and low- to moderate-intensity.

This makes it a perfect place to start if you are looking for a beginner's course in dance fitness.

These workouts offer combined benefits ranging from improved cardiovascular health to enhanced flexibility and reduced stress.

Yoga workouts are great for both mental and physical health.

A 2014 study found that women who participated in yoga regularly over a five-year period increased their bone mineral density in both the hips and spine.

Plus, flexibility and mindfulness exercises, like yoga, can also help decrease stress and improve sleep.

Here are 10 stretches that you should be doing every day!


The Nia technique is a holistic exercise that integrates body movement with visualization and imagery to connect the mind, body, and soul.

It blends elements from the dance, martial arts, and healing arts to improve flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, and stability.

Because it is low impact and lower intensity it is the perfect option for beginners, but also great even for those with a more active lifestyle.

Sensual Dance

These classes are more sexual in nature and include things like belly dancing, aerial dance, and pole dancing.

Sensual dance, especially aerial and pole dancing, will build some serious upper body and core strength.

This is a fun way to incorporate fitness and friskiness at the same time.

Belly Dancing

Dance classes like belly dancing are a little more sensual and are a great way to raise your heart rate and build core strength and flexibility.

Belly dancing is a fun way to get into great shape and to show off some new dance moves.

Pole Dancing

Pole dancing tends to carry a stigma, however with the introduction of pole dancing classes into fitness, more women are embracing this form of exercise.

Studies have found that women engaging in pole fitness actually experience positive body image and empowerment in these classes.

On top of that, pole dancing can provide serious aerobic health benefits, especially in more demanding classes.

Research suggests that an advanced-level 60-minute pole dancing class is classified as a moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise.

What to Wear for Dance Fitness

For most dance fitness classes, all you need is comfortable, gym-appropriate clothing and a pair of tennis shoes.

However, certain gyms and studios may have specific dress codes for their classes. Be sure to ask about studio-specific rules and guidelines about what to wear.

For example, some Barre studios require you to go barefoot during class or to wear socks with special grips on the bottoms.

Other classes may require more tight-fitting clothes depending on the types of dance moves you may be doing.

If you are going to be using certain equipment, like in a pole dancing class, you won’t want to use a lot of lotion that could slip on the poles and cause an injury.

For intense cardio dance classes, you will want to bring along a water bottle to keep you hydrated and a towel to wipe off the sweat during an intense class.

Dance In Your Living Room

Not everyone can afford studio dance classes, or you may not be able to make the gym schedule coincide with your work schedule.

Fortunately, online workouts and DVDs are great options to bring dance fitness to your home on your schedule.

Plus, as a beginner, it can be intimidating to dance in a big group.

With at-home workouts, you can pause the video and learn the moves on your own as you get more comfortable with the workouts.

It's normal to feel nervous when trying dance fitness classes for the first time at a studio.

Even with beginner classes, it can be tough picking up on the dance moves, especially when you feel like others are watching.

The truth is, everyone is there for the same reason — to get into great shape while having fun at the same time!

Chances are, most of the people there feel the same way you do.

So have fun with it!

In no time you'll be a dance fitness pro.

Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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