Shall We Waltz? Dancing for Health, Fitness, and Fun

By Lisa Craig, RD, PhD, LD

Have you ever noticed that dancers often appear more fit and healthy and have more energy and vitality than non-dancers? They know dancing is an excellent way to better health. And while professional dancers often spend hours a day working on their skills, you can reap some of the same benefits by simply making dance one of your physical activities.

Good for Mind and Body

Dancing is largely an aerobic activity that improves the condition of the heart and lungs. It also improves balance, muscle tone, and endurance, and it sharpens the mind. And because it's fun, people tend to stick with dance longer than many other physical activities.

What's Your Preference?

If you prefer individual teaching, learn to waltz. If you'd rather join a group, take up line-dancing. Love string band music or the prompting of a caller? Try square-dancing. If you have a flair for things Latin, try Salsa. Looking for something exotic? Think belly-dancing.

Classes are a Great Place to Start

It's easy to find adult beginner programs for classics such as ballet, tap, and jazz. Doing those will burn calories and increase muscle tone and coordination. And don't forget dance aerobics as a way to learn dance moves while burning calories and toning muscles.

Catch Dance Fever!

There are so many forms of dance, there's no reason to limit yourself to just one type. Relax, experiment, and keep those feet moving. It could lead to a fitter, livelier, more positive you as a result!

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