If you’re thinking about starting a dance workout regimen at home, congratulations! You’re making a smart decision for your health and wellness, and it’s one you won’t regret. There’s a reason why dancers are in such incredible shape – seriously, have you watched Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance lately? Depending on your fitness level and what type of dancing you’re doing, you could burn anywhere from 200 to 500 calories an hour and have fun while doing high-energy dances such as disco, barre or hip hop. Whether you’ve been dancing for years or you’re just getting started, there’s a lot to know about how dance workouts can help you get healthy and what you can do to set yourself up for success. If you’re ready to find the perfect dance exercise DVD, or dance workout videos, here’s what you need to know about your new favorite workout videos and how to find it.
The benefits of dance
Who needs a personal trainer when you can have your own at-home workout program that includes dance. Dance is a total body exercise, and there isn’t a much better choice you can make for your body. The benefits of dancing for fitness include:
- Improved flexibility: While you twist, turn, stretch, and shake, you’ll be moving your body through a wide range of motion that activities like running can’t match. Dancing is far from repetitive, so you’ll stretch and lengthen your muscles rather than tightening and shortening them, like other repetitive forms of cardio workouts do.
- Stronger supporting muscles: Weight training is great for weight loss and toning and targeting large muscle groups like the hamstrings and lats, but it can fail to strengthen the tiny stabilizing muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your feet, legs, and core. Dancing is low impact like pilates and works muscles that you can’t target with repetitive traditional weight training techniques. Challenging all of your muscles with different angles and tempos will help you improve your balance, making you less susceptible to injuries and falls.
- A strengthened, solid core: Speaking of working your supporting muscles, dance fitness is a great way to exercise your core. Your abs, lower back, and glutes all benefit from the twisting and turning motions of dance, which mimics the natural motion of the body. A stronger core means a stronger back, so you’re less likely to suffer from back pain.
- It’s fun: There’s no doubt about it – dancing is fun! If you’re someone who thinks that going for a run sounds horrible and spending hours on the elliptical is a boring waste of time, dancing might be just the thing that catches your interest. No two dances are the same, and the change in music means you’ll never get bored. There’s a reason that we loved to dance as little kids!
- It can help with depression: All that fun you’re having out on the dance floor? It’s doing more than just your body good. Dancing has been shown to improve your mood and benefit mental health, and it has also been found to help people with social anxiety gain confidence.
- It’s a total body workout: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better exercise than dance at targeting every major muscle group in the body. Most traditional forms of cardio, like using a stair stepper or an elliptical machine, only work one or two areas of the body at a time. Why not get more bang for your exercising buck?
- Improved brain health: As if we haven’t given you enough great reasons to start dancing, did you know it can actually improve your brain health? A 2017 study showed that white brain matter, which impacts our brain’s processing and memory abilities, increased in adults who danced regularly.
What you need to get started
Now that you know why you should dance, let’s talk about how to get started. While starting an exercise or workout routine can be intimidating, you won’t need much to start dancing.
- Comfortable clothes: You can skip the leggings and leotard if you want to – you just need to wear comfortable clothing to dance! You’ll probably be working up a sweat, so try and aim for something moisture-wicking that’s designed for working out, and make sure you can move freely to get the most out of your dance moves.
- Comfortable non-slip shoes: Although some types of dance, like tap, require specific shoes, you won’t need anything special when you’re dancing at home. Just make sure your shoes are comfortable and won’t slip if you’re dancing on a hard surface.
- A water bottle: Dancing might be fun, but it’s hard work! You need to stay hydrated, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water while you shake it.
- A DVD player, mobile device or smart TV: There’s tons of great dance workout DVDs out there, and we’ll talk about how to find the best dance exercise DVD in a minute. Most videos are available in a DVD format or an online streaming service, so make sure you’ve got either a DVD player or a way to access the internet.
- Space to move: Don’t be afraid to move your furniture around a bit if you need to! Spread out your stuff so that you’ve got plenty of space to move and groove.
How to choose the best dance exercise dvd?
When choosing the best dance exercise DVD for you, you’ll want to take into account a few things. First, consider your dance experience. If you haven’t spent years as a dance and aren’t confident in your ability to pick up the steps quickly and without a lot of instruction, look for videos specifically marketed to beginners, like Jaana Rhythms or Figure 8. They’ll take the time to walk you through each move individually before putting them all together. Second, look for a style of dance that corresponds to music you like, at least at first. While you’re getting the hang of it, you want to enjoy it, right? So look for hip-hop dance DVDs - if you like hip-hop music, try salsa if you love a Latin vibe, or simply get Jaana Rhythms or Figure 8 if you prefer a variety of genres. Third, read reviews carefully. Some videos may seem suitable for beginners but are actually more advanced than you’re looking for. Finally, look for videos that have modification options for physical limitations. If you have an injury or are not in the best shape, you’ll want to choose DVDs that offer several different options for how to do the choreography and still feel great and have fun.
You may want to test out a few before committing to months of learning the steps, so try out our Body FX subscription to access multiple styles of dance workouts, and see what you like! With the right attitude and the right program, you’ll be on your way to getting fit while having fun!