You’ve read the recommendations on exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that people do aerobic exercises for 20 to 60 minutes per day three to five days per week so they can improve the condition of their heart. Other health and sports groups have similar recommendations.
OK, you don’t know exactly what an aerobic exercise is when you first read the recommendations. Soon you learn, though, that it is an exercise that you need to do continuously for at least a few consecutive minutes. It’s the opposite of an anaerobic exercise such as throwing a baseball or football, swinging a baseball bat or golf club, or, sometimes, doing a weightlifting repetition.
As you read more about aerobic exercise, you read that running, bicycling, and swimming are among the exercises that qualify. You like going to a gym to do some of these exercises, but you also like to have fun. Some of these exercises can be fun, but just the concept of “exercise” sometimes makes these exercises less fun.
Well, guess what? There is an “exercise” that some people think of as ALL fun and others think of as fun first, exercise second. It’s not on some lists of aerobic exercises, but it is on others. It’s aerobic dancing.
What Exactly is Aerobic Dancing?
Basically, it’s an exercise program that combines dancing with strength training and stretching. Frequently, the dancers jump up and down for an extended period of time as if they doing jumping jacks, which by itself is an excellent aerobic exercise. Aerobic dancing also involves a lot of lateral, side-to-side movements and can include dancing with weights.
For many people, aerobic dancing doesn’t seem like exercise because it is performed while music is on. Who doesn’t like listening to music? Who feels like they’re exercising when they’re listening to a great song?
While you’re enjoying yourself, though, you’re also exercising. “Dancing is a great activity for all ages and ability levels that has universal appeal, and reminds people that exercise can be fun!” reports “What are the benefits of dance inspired workouts?” “Dancing can serve as a great form of aerobic exercise, providing cardiovascular conditioning which the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) reports can help lower your risk of coronary heart disease, decrease blood pressure, and also aid in weight management efforts.”
What Are The Benefit of Aerobic Dancing?
MedicineNet.com’s “Aerobic Exercise”article reports that aerobic dancing and other aerobic exercises have the following benefits in addition to those mentioned by the NHLBI:
- They improve emotional health
- They reduce the risk of cancer
- They reduce the risk of mental depression
- They reduce the risk of diabetes
- They reduce the risk of osteoporosis
“Choosing the Right Exercise,”a report by the Merck Manuals Home Health Handbook, emphasizes the fun of aerobic dancing. Oftentimes, it is easier to persuade friends to dance than exercise, the report implies. The exercise also allows people to “exercise at their own pace” and is a fun exercise to do at home with videotapes.
The report, though, also emphasizes that aerobic dancing exercises the whole body. In other words, it can strengthen your arms, legs, stomach, hips and more while also improving your cardiovascular fitness.
And, of course, aerobic dancing helps you lose weight. Here are some numbers for a 150-pound person doing 60-minute routine, according to The American Council On Exercise. Heavier people burn more calories; lighter people fewer. You lose one pound when you burn 3,500 calories.
- Someone doing casual aerobic dancing will burn 283 calories. You are exercising casually when your heart rate is below 55 percent of your maximum heart rate, which is 220 heartbeats per minute minus your age.
- Someone doing moderate aerobic dancing will burn 368 calories. You are exercising moderately when your heart rate is 55 to 69 percent of your maximum heart rate.
- Someone doing intense aerobic dancing will burn 396 calories. You are exercising intensely when your heart rate is 70 to 89 percent of your maximum heart rate.