Exercise and Fitness

Dancing is wonderful exercise. It can be gentle or intense, it can be high-impact or low-impact, it builds coordination and balance, it is highly aerobic, it can take place in a group setting or one-on-one, and it is an excellent option for getting in shape and staying that way. If you want a way to exercise that is far more fun than running on a treadmill, lifting weights, or doing calisthenics, dancing is the perfect option for you.

Note the table at right: dancing is an excellent way to burn off excess calories. Take a look at the bottom row: a fast dance like Lindy Hop burns as many calories chopping and splitting wood! If you've ever chopped wood for more than a few minutes, you know that you work up a good sweat in short order. So whether you have excess weight you want to lose, and dietary modification is not enough, or you just want to build and maintain good muscle tone, dancing can fill the bill.

Of course, dancing doesn't have to be that energetic—if you want to learn a less energetic form of dance, Waltz and/or Foxtrot may be more appropriate. And, a deliberate selection of music whose tempo is appropriate for your desired level of exercise is another way of developing fitness in a controlled manner.

Not only is dance good for exercise reasons, it also dramatically increases your understanding and appreciation of music. Regardless of which dance style(s) you choose to learn, you'll learn how to identify the time signature, locate the downbeat, and apply various motions to the music in a precise, graceful, and appropriate manner. This is beneficial if you are involved in any kind of music: vocal performance, orchestra, marching band, music teaching, and so forth—even if you do nothing more than snap your fingers or clap your hands in time to someone else's music, the musical understanding gained in Dancer Guy's dance classes will be useful.

This information is not intended for diagnosing illness or prescribing treatment. It should not replace the advice of personal physician or other qualified health-care provider. Before undertaking any new health regimen, consult your physician to discuss your individual needs, symptoms and treatments.

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