We've all heard of it but what is dance fitness exactly? Is it a choreographed dance class? Is it a fitness class? Do I have to be good at dancing? Do I have to be in shape in order to participate? I get tons of questions around the subject of dance fitness every day from people wanting to know what it is, if it is right for them, and why they should choose dance fitness over other forms of workout classes. In this post I'm going to explain exactly what dance fitness is, how Work The Floor classes are structured and why you should incorporate them into your weekly routine.
There are many forms of dancing from ballroom to ballet to hip hop to line dancing to salsa and the list is ever growing. Dance has always been a part of human culture, rituals and celebrations. Today, most dancing is about recreation and self-expression.
Various studies throughout the years have shown that dancing has serious health benefits like burning fat and boosting your metabolism. (Burning an extra 300 calories a day can help you lose 1/2 to 1 pound a week) Dancing can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, strengthen weight-bearing bones, help prevent or slow bone loss related to osteoporosis, lower the risks of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, and promote increased lung capacity. Dancing can even help sharpen your intellectual and mental abilities, reducing the risk of cognitive impairments such as dementia. Dancing can help enhance memory, alertness, awareness, focus, and concentration. All of these amazing benefits come from dancing naturally, whether that's at home in your room or at the club with friends.
Dance fitness has been around since the 50's but really hit it big in the 70's and 80's with Jazzercise shaping the culture. Zumba followed suit shortly after with a fresh take on dance fitness by pairing routines with Latin inspired moves and music. Both Jazzercise and Zumba focused primarily on the cardio aspect of fitness. Nowadays you can find all sorts of dance fitness classes that do more than just cardio. Take for example, Barre or pole dancing. These classes focus less on cardio and more on strength and muscle training. And with full body workouts on the rise, even Jazzercise and Zumba have started implementing these ideals into their routines. No matter the type of dance fitness class, they are all typically structured around easy to follow choreography so anyone can join in the fun. In other words, you shouldn't have to study routines before you hit the dance floor and in most cases, you won't need prior dancing experience. I will take a moment to express however, the quality and ease of dance fitness routines really depends on the instructor and the format they're teaching. You'll need to try a few different instructors to find one that fits your personality and is easy to follow.
Work The Floor Fitness specifically combines cardio and calisthenics to ensure you're not only getting a great cardio session but some strength training as well. Work The Floor uses easy choreography taken straight from popular artists' music videos and combines it with leg work, squats, burpees, planks and arms to guarantee all the muscles in your body are getting an effective workout. Sessions will always start out with a warm up or two. These routines are very minimal impact with slow and repetitive choreography. Warm ups are designed to get you in the right mindset, introduce the music, and wake up your arms and legs in preparation for some harder routines to follow. Like with any work out, it is important to stretch and warm up your muscles before you hit them with deep and powerful moves. Following the warms ups will be a harder routine introducing calisthenics such as squats and burpees or perhaps even faster beats to up your heart rate. Then, just when you think you're going to die and can no longer breathe, Work The Floor brings in a slower or medium intensity routine to help you recoup without bringing your heart rate back down to a full resting level. The remainder of the class alternates between hard and medium routines mimicking heart rate interval training. This keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. The last routine of class is a cool down and similar to a warm up - bringing your heart rate back down to a normal level and allowing you to "shake off" the intense workout you just endured. Finally the class ends with a stretch.
The great thing about dance fitness is that it is truly for ALL fitness levels. The reality is you can make any move as hard or as easy as you'd like. Remember to go at your own pace; you know your body better than anyone else. It's not crucial that you emulate the same intensity as the instructor for the class to be effective. If you're really out of shape, make your side steps smaller, turn squats into bounces or simply march in place. If you're on the opposite side of the fitness spectrum and need more out of your workout, go deep with your squats, make arm movements big and exaggerated, keep your cores tight and engaged at all times, and get those knees to your chest when doing leg work. Regardless of how much you amplify the moves, you are still guaranteed to sweat and burn tons of calories, the choice of intensity is really up to you.
While technically dance fitness can be for everyone and all fitness levels, I believe dance fitness is a great choice for the average woman. (or man!) Someone who wants to lose some weight but mostly just wants to be active and get off the couch a couple times a week. Someone who enjoys music and likes to dance around the house while cleaning. But I think dance fitness is the very best for those who don't stick with a work out regimen because it becomes dull, monotonous, and boring. While I can't speak on behalf of ALL dance fitness classes, I can say no two Work The Floor classes are alike. Being bored in our class is not an option. We have 130+ different routines, working different areas of the body, constantly in rotation. Each class has a unique playlist to keep your mind and body guessing because the last thing anyone wants is to plateau. Not only are you getting a great heart-pumping workout, dance fitness classes give you something to look forward to at the end of a long day. Just ask any dance fitness regular, class becomes a bit of a happy hour. In that moment you let the stress of the day shake off. You become confident and untamed and free to lose your inhibitions. Whether you can dance or not, I've never seen someone mad or upset while dancing. Have you?
Dance fitness classes are by far the easiest workout routine to stick to and given the flexibility of intensity, it's the easiest class to cater to everyone's individual fitness needs at the same time. So ask yourself this, do you find it hard to stick with working out because it's boring? Do you enjoy being happy and healthy with minimal effort? Do you enjoy making friends and feeling supported? If so, dance fitness is totally for you. See you in class.