Ladies Dancing = Getting Cardio!

Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading loved to dance as exercise.

I love dancing. I am not the best dancer but I enjoy it. What I love about dancing is that as a female, I can dance with the other women in a large group and it isn’t weird. Go to any dance club and you will find ladies dancing, with or without men. On the other hand, you generally won’t find men dancing as a group, unless you are at a club specifically for that. Too bad for men.

Luckily for those of us who like dancing, it is a cardiovascular exercise. Based on the 2007 recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), adults should get a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity each day to support health. If you want to lose weight or keep up weight loss, then 60-90 minute is probably necessary, and preferred.

What is CARDIO?

Cardiovascular exercise, also called aerobic exercise, is exercise that increases your heart rate and brings in more oxygen into your body. Moderate intensity aerobic exercise is one that increases your heart rate, where it is difficult to speak a full sentence, but you can still talk. There is a lot more to aerobic exercise in how the body uses specific nutrients during the activity and metabolism, but I won’t go into that here.

How to incorporate dancing into your exercise?

Many of us have done or at least heard of aerobic dance classes (aka aerobics), but there are other classes and videos you can join or try. Zumba is one that I have not tried, but my friend and colleague Jessica Bowhall, MBA, RD, LD at ForeverWellness.us talks about how great Zumba, a form of Latin dance, is.

There are many other dance-exercise classes: where I work there are classes that teach country western dance, ballroom dance, night club dancing and even belly dance classes. Look at your local university or community education classes. Check the local clubs in your area: some in my area have free dance classes on Sunday afternoons.

Other types of cardio exercise

There are many types of cardio exercises: running, cycling, swimming, hiking, fast walking, and the equipment in the gym like the Spin bikes, elliptical and rowing or stair machines. But with the exception of Brad Pitt in the Coen brothers 2008 movie Burn After Reading, I’ve never seen anyone dance on these machines. But you can be a pioneer a cardio machine dance movement.

Go for it!

No matter how old or how self-conscious you are, get your girlfriends together (or your partner) and go dancing or join a class. You can also get a video or two and dance in your own living room. The most important part is to have fun while helping your heart. My favorite place for videos is Collage Video. Check out the Dance videos under “Workout Types.” Before you know it, “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” may be your favorite workout.

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