For optimum fitness, you need to do cardiovascular work as well as muscle strengthening exercise. Dance is the perfect combination of both forms and is not as high impact as the traditional cardio sport of running.
What is cardio
Cardiovascular exercise improves the circulatory system, strengthening your heart and helping to pump blood around your body effectively. Your heart is a muscle like any other – it needs regular exercise to keep in peak condition, otherwise it will get weak. Not only does regular cardio work keep your heart healthy and strong, a fitter circulatory system will deliver more nutrients around your body. As a happy by-product, cardio will also help you shed a few unwanted pounds.
Dance as cardio
Any activity that increases your heart rate for a sustained period of time will get you fit, but dance is particularly effective. When you are learning to dance, every step is a challenge and putting together a simple routine will get you working up a sweat. As you improve, the routines will get harder and the music faster to ensure that you still get the old ticker going. Regular exercise will improve your stamina and ability to recover, and the same is true of your heart. As it gets fitter, your normal heart rate will get lower which decreases your chances of heart problems in the future.
Dance cardio to relax
Dance can actively lower your stress levels because of the social, fun aspect of the exercise, but regular cardio work also helps to reduce stress. The more you give your heart a workout, the lower your resting pulse which means that there is less pressure on your system. As well as reduced stress levels, the cardio aspect of dancing will help you sleep better – not only will you be mentally exhausted from learning a new skill, but you will also be physically drained, achieving deeper sleep more easily and for longer periods.
Dance cardio to keep your mind active
Recent studies have shown that regular cardio exercise keeps the brain supplied with oxygen and nutrients, as well as keeping it active. But rather than just running on a treadmill, dancing enhances this benefit as it also keeps the brain on its toes, learning new steps and reading your partner’s body language to move seamlessly together.
Dance cardio as bone strengthening
Some cardio workouts don’t count as weight-bearing exercise, whereas the constant movement of dance pulls at the muscles and creates positive stress on the bones. This minimal amount of damage results in improved bone density as the injured section is repaired with new, stronger bone.
Dance cardio to stay positive
If you simply shuffle between a dull desk job and being a couch potato, you are likely to feel sluggish and disinterested in exercise. Something as fun as dance will get you moving without realising that you’re getting fit and healthy, and will in turn help lift your mood.