Aerobic dance has been around since the late 1960s and exploded in the U.S. during the 1980s, when it set off a fashion trend of sweatbands, leg warmers and leotards. Anyone who’s watched the popular TV show “Dancing With the Stars” knows that dancing requires endurance and strength, but dance can also be incorporated into a fun aerobic workout.
Benefits of Aerobics
Keeping an active lifestyle and including aerobic activity will help keep the weight off, increase your endurance, reduce health risks and strengthen your heart and lungs. With aerobic dance exercises, you’ll move the large muscles of your upper and lower body repeatedly, which in turn increases the blood flow to your muscles and then on to your lungs, according to MayoClinic.com. The capillaries of your body will widen to deliver more oxygen to the muscles and also to carry away byproducts such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide. The body also releases endorphins during aerobic exercise that act as a natural painkiller, promoting an overall feeling of well-being.
Low-impact aerobic dance exercises offer a wonderful cardiovascular workout, but with less intensity compared to high-impact aerobic dance. If you’re new to aerobics dance exercises, low impact may be the way to start out. Both feet never leave the ground at the same time, but you’ll still be successful in breaking a sweat and burning calories. This type of aerobic dance exercise is best for those who have back or health problems or for women who are pregnant.
Movements such as jumping and hopping are included in high-impact aerobics. During high-impact aerobics dance, as your body moves around both feet may lose contact with the ground. High impact is not for those who have any past or current injuries to the lower legs, joints or back. There is also a risk of injury because of the intensity. While aerobic dance provides an excellent cardiovascular workout, you should always consult with your doctor before high-impact exercises.
According to an article published in "Arthritis Care & Research" in 2001, water aerobics was found to improve flexibility, endurance, exercise tolerance, muscle strength and postural stability in women who suffer from arthritis, without exacerbating the condition. Water provides resistance during aerobic dance exercises without straining the body, acting as a cushion for the joints and muscles during movements. This is a great alternative, especially if you have joint issues, lower back pain or are pregnant.
Some aerobics dance exercises incorporate dance moves from around the world. You’ll find Latin-inspired aerobics dance that incorporates choreography from samba, salsa, merengue and mambo. You’ll also find aerobics dance classes that incorporate hip-hop, belly dance and Bollywood moves. The purpose of these types of aerobic dance classes is to get the heart pumping, but to do so in a fun way so working out doesn’t feel like a workout.
- American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine: What Is Aerobic Dancing?
- Arthritis Care & Research: A Health Professional’s Guide to Exercise Prescription for People With Arthritis: A Review of Aerobic Fitness Activities
- Georgia State University: Aerobic Dance
- MayoClinic.com: Aerobic Exercise: Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.