Dancing as Exercise

Shall we dance?

Ballroom or breakdance? Tango or techno? Salsa or swing?

Whatever your speed, there’s a dance style out there to get you moving, laughing, and having fun — not to mention giving your heart a great workout at the same time.

In addition to being a solid cardio workout, most forms of dance burn calories, improve balance and coordination, tone muscles, and build bones—all things that are just plain good for your body.

Dancing is good for you mentally as well. It can relieve stress or lessen depression, and it keeps you sharp as you memorize steps and routines.

Best of all, dancing doesn’t feel like exercise, which is sometimes the best type of movement to get us going!


Jumping in with both feet

The first step all new dancers should take is ensuring they have proper footwear.

“It’s important to make sure your shoes fit properly and comfortably,” says Lawrence Maurer, DPM. “And having the right type of shoe for your activity is critical as well. If not, the surface you’re dancing on may make you more prone to trips or falls.”

Foot problems experienced with dancing may include pain from overuse, calluses, corns, bunions, hammer toes, or foot fractures.

A newcomer to dancing may also experience tendonitis.

Dr. Maurer cautions dancers – novices and veterans alike – to visit a podiatrist anytime they experience pain that increases in intensity when they move. And if there’s an injury with pain or swelling, it’s best to ice early and aggressively.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to show off your dance moves!


Meeting up with other dancers

Need dance partners? A great way to “meet up” with others is through local meetup sites:

Even if you don’t join a dance class or meetup group, you can get moving and start learning new dance steps.

Dr. Maurer – who says his dancing moves right now focus on embarrassing his kids – recommends Xbox Kinect Dance Central and other dance games. He also suggests tuning into So You Think You Can Dance on the Fox Network.


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Visit our Healthiest Best Exercise homepage for more great ideas to work activity into your daily routine.