Dance the Weight Away

Dance Your Way to a Healthier You

dance the weight off

Remember Ginger Rogers? She not only kept up with Fred Astaire, she did it backwards and in heels! Getting out on the dance floor for just 15 minutes of continuous vigorous moves can burn as many as 110 calories. So, don’t just watch and tap your foot when the music comes on. Get up and swing (or cha-cha or waltz). “What sets dancing apart is how the body responds to music,” says Elizabeth Larkam, spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. The beat makes you want to go, go, go even though the same out-of-breathness would cut most other aerobic workouts short.

Dancing offers another anti-aging benefit besides slimming you in all the right places; one study found that people who dance four or more times a week have a 76 percent lower risk of dementia, than those who sit it out. The physical act of doing the fox trot or merengue increases blood flow to the brain. Additionally, it requires some mental effort to listen to the music, pick up the beat, and remember the steps all at the same time. That makes dancing multitasking at its best. Dancing is also a great stress buster. One study found that people who tangoed for 20 minutes felt happier and had lower levels of stress hormones than people who sat on the sidelines watching.

Here’s what you can expect from dancing the night away:

Ballroom dancing, such as the tango, waltz, or fox trot

What it does: strengthens the abs, arms, and lower back

What it burns: 190 calories an hour

Salsa and swing

What it does: Increases endurance and improves coordination

What it burns: 286 calories an hour

Belly dancing and bollywood

What it does: Strengthens and defines abs, firms shoulders and arms

What it burns: 286 calories an hour

 

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