How to dance for weight loss (9 styles to start with)

How to dance for weight loss (9 styles to start with)
  • PublishedMay 20, 2020

In this article, we are going to look at how to dance for weight loss. This sounds confusing and unique from the very beginning, but you can lose pounds by just adding some dancing to your lifestyle.

Originally, dancing was used by our ancestors to tell stories, express emotions, or as an art of traditional worship. Dancing has evolved and it is now approved by health experts and the American Council of Exercise as a form of exercise that can help weight loss.

An example is a popular game just dance that turns dance moves into competitive events, burn calories, increase muscle tone, and improve flexibility without feeling like you’re exercising

Dancing regularly can slow down your heart rate, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and burn fat, all this promotes effective and healthy weight loss.

The different ways of how to dance for weight loss includes the use of moves like; freestyle, hip-hop, belly dance, salsa, zumba, jazzercise, ballet, pole dancing, and african dancing.

Before looking at how to dance for weight loss, let’s first look at dancing and exercise briefly.  

What is dancing?

Dancing is the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space for purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself.

Is dancing an exercise?

The survey published by The American Council of Exercise, health experts, and fitness specialists altogether agreed that dance has advanced into a form of exercise for weight loss and physical fitness. Dance based exercise routines were also approved as growing trends. 

Dancing is a whole-body workout that targets the core, arms, legs, glutes, and back. A 30-minute dance class burns between 130 to 250 calories which are close to the same number of calories a person jogging burns. This qualifies dancing to be an exercise.

How many calories does dancing burn?

The number of calories that dancing can burn entirely depends on the form of dance and intensity. An hour of dancing can burn close to 400 calories, which is the same as swimming or riding a bicycle.

How long should I dance to lose weight? 

For one to lose weight through dancing he or she must aim at having 20 minutes of accelerated heart-rate for at least 4-5 days a week. One has to start with a 5-minute warm-up and end with a 5-minute cool-down making a total of 30 minutes of dancing 4-5 times a week.

How to dance for weight loss; tips on how to get the best out of it

1. Monitor your food

When you start a dancing exercise, avoid increasing your calorie intake. Increasing your calories will either add you more pounds or maintain you at a plateau.  Make a meal plan of what you have to eat and follow that all through your dancing exercises. 

2. Manage your dance time

For one to lose weight through dancing he or she must aim at having 20 minutes of accelerated heart-rate for at least 4-5 days a week. One has to start with a 5-minute warm-up and end with a 5-minute cool-down making a total of 30 minutes of dancing 4-5 times a week. It’s better to set an alarm for your total dancing time using a clock or your phone.  

3. Make calorie-burning dance moves

With dancing to lose weight, you have to aim at moving your whole body. Dancing moves such as the old standby move of a step with one foot and then bringing the other foot next to the first one and then going the opposite way; are some of the moves that involve total body movement. 

You just have to be creative with this dancing regimen. If you incorporate leg lifts and knee lifts bringing your opposite elbow to the knee, you will work your legs and abs. Styles, like jogging around the room and moving your arms at least up to the shoulders, can have your heart start pumping.  

4. Music selection is important

Your dancing session for weight loss involves dancing at various speeds. You need different music speeds for the 5 minutes warm-up, 20-minutes of full-time aerobics, and 5-minutes for your cool down.

 Click on a certain number on the metronome to get the basic beat of the song for all the above sessions. For your warm-up and cool down, you’ll want music that’s around 88 – 100 and For your 20-minute full aerobic time, you can have 108 – 112 for your step together dancing, and 104 for your leg lift dancing.

What are the moves of how to Dance for weight loss?

For many of you who want to lose weight but think exercise and dieting are not comfortable for you, dance moves can be an easy and effective way to cut off the extra bounds. Below are the moves of how to dance for weight loss that you can employ.  

1. Freestyle

Image by Ionas Nicolae from Pixabay

With freestyle, you move freely regardless of the dance steps or body movements. It is the simplest of all dance moves and can be done by any age group. Weight loss aside, freestyle makes your body more flexible. It is performed on any type of loud music and you can increase your pace by dancing anyhow. 

Freestyle should be performed 30 minutes of every day at a fast speed to boost your energy levels. You can do it alone or with people who love fast-paced music. 

2. Hip-hop

Hip-hop was given this name because it takes place in the hips and the waist. It is a street form of dance style common in night clubs and good for both beginners and veterans. This high energy work out involves quick movements that exercise the entire body. 

Hip-hop firms and tones your abs. To burn more calories, you can dance while watching a video or spend an hour at a club. 

3. Hip-hop abs

These are dance moves that shape and tone your abs. With hip-hop abs, say by to floor crunches. Having 2 to 3 days of hip-hop abs a week or intense cardio workout will enable you to burn fat and build a strong six-pack. Ladies have a great advantage here to cut down those extra pounds in abs and look pretty.

If you have asked yourself the question; does dancing burn belly fat? 

This next dance move has the answer in its name.

4. Belly dance

This is a low impact dance move that can burn about 300 calories in just one hour of belly movement. It works out your hips, back, and abs. Belly dance involves slow and controlled isometric movements that help to maintain flexibility and improve circulation. Belly dances can be done by watching videos or joining dance classes offered by gym or dance studios. 

In addition to burning thighs and abdominal fat, belly dance strengthens the muscles and improves posture. This helps back pain that is often an obstacle to exercising. 

4. Salsa

This Latin American dance move has just gained favor in night clubs and dance studios recently. With this dance form, you can burn close to 420 calories in an hour.  It has been inspired by the dance styles of cumbia, bomba, and merengue music among others. Salsa consists of a pattern of six steps danced over eight counts of music along with several turns and are danced side to side.

5. Zumba

Image by Andrzej Rembowski from Pixabay

Zumba is like a one-stop center for a variety of dance forms for overall body fitness. It involves salsa, rumba, merengue, and hip hop moves to cause movement and give the body a cardio workout. Zumba classes are offered by many chain gyms worldwide to make people enjoy while working out.

With Zumba, you don’t need a dance partner. Plus most of the steps are easy and they isolate your arms, abs, and legs for strengthening. Aim at having 2 to 3 days of Zumba dances a week for best results.  You are bound to enjoy the results as you enjoy the dance. 

6. Jazzercise

Jazzercise was founded in 1969 and perhaps one of the oldest among the dance forms. It combines jazz dance and strength training to tone muscles and burn calories simultaneously. Jazzercise builds muscles during the dance using barbells and dumbbells. 

Apart from barbells and dumbbells, Pilates and yoga movements are added to lengthen the muscles plus cardio boxing moves which give an aerobic workout. Jazzercise burns up to 600 calories in an hour and should be done 2 to 3 times a week to lose weight effectively.

7. Ballet

This is a slow-moving and low impact dance form but it plays an important role in shaping your body. It requires a lot of strength and precision to perform most of the ballet dance moves and positions. Just like Pilates, the slow and controlled movements help to build long and lean muscles. 

Some ballet movements are comparable to certain gym exercises. The dance moves to stretch and lengthen the muscles, providing you a full-body workout. Concentration will increase the flexibility of your body parts and help burn fat deposits that make you look fat.

8. Pole dancing

Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay

Climbing and rotating on a pole enhances your flexibility and burn down some calories. A pole dance of 30 minutes is more or less similar to 20 minutes in a gym. Pole dancing helps to lose weight, tone body muscles, and shape your body.

9. African dance

This features African cultural dances. It is possible for both the young, old, beginner, and experienced.  Most cultural dances involve full-body movements, which work all most all body muscles and burn a considerable number of calories.  

Which dance is the best for weight loss? 

Zumba is one of the best and most demanding dance styles for weight loss. It involves dance and aerobic movements performed to energetic music which gives the body a good cardio workout.

What makes Zumba the best is that it incorporates or it is a collection of a variety of dance forms such as hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, and mambo. This means that Zumba does what other dance forms do all combine.

Zumba also involves strength training exercises such as squats and lunges which help to tone your lower body hence giving you overall body fitness.

What are the health benefits of dancing?

Whether you are old or young, engaging in any physical activity like dancing has an impact on your health and can transform your life. Below are some of the health benefits of dancing.

1. Balance and strength

Unlike the daily movements that we make like walking, taking stairs, and cycling which take place in the sagittal plane, dancing involves movement in all directions on all planes of motion including lateral and rotational. This activates and works all muscles of your body thereby promoting body balance and strength.

2. Dancing is gentle on the body

Dancing does not involve heavy equipment like weights as it is in the case with other workouts in the gym. This means that it is appropriate for people with limited mobility and chronic health issues.

3. Improves cardiovascular health

According to Leon Turetsky a professional ballroom dancer and certified personal trainer, all styles of dance make great cardio workouts since your heart rate gets challenged as you execute the various moves.  

This is in line with the Department of Health and Human Services’ physical activity guidelines for adults that insist that adults should have at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activities a week.

4. Boosts your mood

Physical exercises such as dancing allow you to escape and let loose. This helps to improve mental and emotional health by reducing stress, depression, and symptoms of anxiety. Dancing also boosts your self-esteem.

5. Social unity

Dancing brings people together. People in various dancing groups get a chance to interact and share. This promotes social and emotional health.  

Regardless of your dancing organization, either a ballroom or belly dancing class dancing with friends is incredible and good emotionally.

6. Dancing is inclusive

Dancing is a unique exercise because anyone can participate. The young and old can all participate in this kind of exercise. If you’re able to move, even if it’s only your upper body, you can dance.

7. Challenges your brain

It takes brainpower to access for dance and requires you to focus on the changing body movements and recalling movement patterns. This is an excellent form of mental exercise for mind across all ages.   

8. Improves sleeping quality

Dancing reduces stress and tires you out. This helps you to sleep for longer hours. Dancing also reduces the risk of developing troublesome sleep disorders, such as apnoea and restless leg syndrome

Does dancing build muscle?

Dancing forms, for example, jazzercise involve the lifting of weights like barbells and dumbbells. Theses weights play a role in toning muscles and building muscle mass. Stretching the muscles also improves strength, flexibility, balance, and stability of the body. 

Related article: Foods for muscle gain

Is dancing a good way to lose weight?

Yes, dancing is a very good way to lose weight. This is because;

  1. Caters for the young and the old
  2. You can do it any time anywhere
  3. It is cheap and does not involve expensive equipment.
  4. Dancing targets most body parts which means that all body muscles are involved. You will, therefore, burn fats in the entire body rather than spot reduction.
  5. Dancing burns calories while having fun. This makes the entire regimen interesting and free of boredom
  6. With different types of dance and dance styles, there is something for everyone.

Is dancing better than exercise?

Image by 272447 from Pixabay

Dance, sports and weight exercises and cardiovascular exercises look more or less similar but we think that in some areas, dancing has an upper hand. Let us look at those areas below.

  1. Physical exercises tone up only specific muscles at a time, while dancing works on general body muscles.
  2. Workouts more so in the gymnasium make your muscles stiff. On the other hand, dancing makes the muscles flexible making you walk or run better and faster.
  3. Exercises require labor and strength and do not involve mental faculty. Dancing, however, challenges the brain to master the dancing moves and the pattern.  
  4. Dancing makes you more popular and active in society. You always make people’s parties and marriages unforgettable when you hit the floor.
  5. Dancing is an acquired skill and in most cases, one is most likely to earn from it. This is not the case with most workouts.
  6. Dancing is an accepted discipline in schools and institutions. This means that it can be a career option, unlike other exercises.
Bottom line 

Even though dancing burns calories effectively and can help to lose weight, it is very important to know that you cannot rely on dancing alone for weight loss. Regular body exercise and mindful eating move hand in hand to achieve sustainable weight loss goals. 

You have to create a calorie imbalance or burn more calories compared to what you eat, otherwise, you will either gain or maintain weight.


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