Your Guide to Cardio Dance — Benefits of Cardio Dance Workouts

This heart-pumping workout brings the fun. Here's what to know about cardio dance, its benefits, and more.

When you're letting loose during a solo dance session in your living room or cutting it up on the dance floor at a friend's wedding, it's likely you'll feel the burn the next day—even if you didn't realize you were exerting yourself that much! Indeed, dance cardio is an effective and enjoyable way to get a workout while experiencing all the wonderful advantages of physical activity. It can be surprisingly intensive. Dance cardio is described by Karma Stylz, a fitness and dance coach on the FitXR app, as "an exuberant, rhythm-based dance workout filled with continuous high-energy movement." It has something for everyone. Karissa Bollinger, a dance fitness instructor and an exercise physiologist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), says that dance cardio has both mental and physical health benefits. Dance cardio programs like Zumba, 305 Fitness, DanceBody, and AKT are widely accessible both online and in fitness centers nationwide. This means anyone, anywhere, can enjoy wiggling, booty-popping, and working up a considerable sweat to the latest chart-toppers. In this article, we delve into what a dance cardio class entails, the key benefits you'll gain while grooving to your favorite melodies, and what to anticipate in your inaugural class.

What Is Dance Cardio?

"Dance cardio is an exhilarating workout regimen that combines heart-pumping dance moves with rhythmic music," states Alissa Tucker, a distinguished trainer for AKT, a popular dance cardio program offered by Xponential+. As Sarina Jain, an instructor of Masala Bhangra at New York City's Ailey Extension and a group fitness instructor certified by the Athletics and Fitness Association of America explains, "a dance cardio session closely resembles an aerobic exercise class and typically lasts from 45 minutes to an hour." "Each class begins with a warm-up to rev up your body, followed by stretching exercises. Next comes the high-intensity dance segment where you're encouraged to give it your all and enjoy the rhythm, before winding down after the strenuous activity," Jain explains. Depending on the specific class, there can also be a targeted core workout included. Some forms of dance cardio, such as AKT, are structured around choreography, where participants learn a dance sequence throughout the class, Tucker mentions. In other variations, participants simply mimic the instructor's moves for each song played during the session. If you're not keen on hitting the gym, dance cardio is an excellent alternative as it requires no equipment and can be done in the comfort of your home, suggests Tucker. Especially for beginners, trying out dance cardio at home can provide a pressure-free environment to practice and become comfortable with the movements before joining a group class.

The Benefits of Dance Cardio

Dance cardio has a host of research-backed health benefits. Here are the top reasons to add dance cardio to your fitness routine.

Promote Heart Health


Dance cardio is not only an exciting workout but also a beneficial one for maintaining cardiovascular health and preventing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease," says Tucker. A research conducted by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has found that moderate-intensity dancing plays a significant role in reducing cardiovascular disease mortality risk. The connection between dance and reduced mortality from cardiovascular diseases can be attributed to high-intensity dance periods, lifelong consistency, and psychological advantages, according to the researchers.

In dance cardio classes, you will encounter common cardio exercises like jumping jacks, squats, and side shuffles cleverly disguised as dance steps. "In the AKT method, we incorporate fun elements like a booty pop or shimmy," Tucker explains. These established cardio exercises are beneficial for stimulating and strengthening your heart and lungs, as reported by Shape.

Don't miss out on the 'sneaky' squat, as called by Bollinger, her preferred move. "The reason I call it 'sneaky' is because as fitness professionals, when we choreograph dance fitness, we're always looking for ways to subtly incorporate moves that will significantly increase your heart rate, focusing on the cardiovascular aspect of the class," she elaborates. It's worth mentioning here that squats have been recognized as one of the most effective exercises for butt strengthening, according to a study by the American Council on Exercise.


Improve Balance and Coordination

According to scientific findings, taking part in dance-based aerobic activities can notably enhance balance and coordination, particularly in the latter stages of life. A specific study showcased how an increased frequency of dance-oriented workouts among elderly women positively impacted their balance and coordination. Consequently, this led to a minimized hazard of accidental falls. This advancement in equilibrium and coordination is credited to the repeated execution of diverse step patterns during the core segment of the exercise routine.

Increase Agility and Flexibility

In the quest for enhanced balance and coordination, one should not ignore the role of dance cardio. It doesn't just boost coordination but also betters your flexibility and ability to move with ease, states Stylz. A research conducted by the British Journal of Sports Medicine disclosed the positive impacts of pre-season dance training on elite cross-country skiers. The outcome showed that the skiers experienced enhanced hip motion range, joint mobility, and spinal flexibility. This led to a significant decrease in back pain related to skiing. The authors of the study attribute these results to the exercises included in the dance training regimen, which focused on improving posture, flexibility, and coordination.

Help With Memory Recall

Engaging in dance cardio workouts that focus on teaching choreography can boost memory recall, as stated by Tucker. By actively engaging your mind to learn new routines, you are participating in a workout that is beneficial for both body and mind. Dancing has been scientifically proven to aid in the creation of fresh neural pathways within the brain. Bollinger explains this as an opportunity for your brain to process unfamiliar movements, effectively giving it a workout too. This type of cognitive stimulation can contribute to lowering your chances of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia, based on certain research findings.

Boost Mood

Engaging in regular physical activity is known to alleviate stress and anxiety, as it triggers the release of endorphins, hormones responsible for enhancing mood, Shape has reported. Dance cardio workouts, being fun and energetic, naturally elicit smiles and laughter, contributing to improved moods, confirms Bollinger. Recent studies have shed light on the connection between dance cardio and it's positive effects on mental well-being. Regular participants of such workouts exhibited greater mindfulness and a higher sense of psychological wellness compared to non-dancers.

The Best Dance Cardio Workouts

For novices in dance cardio, Stylz advises beginning with a brief and uncomplicated workout that is beneficial to both your mental and physical health. As the positive effects motivate you to continue, gradually build up the intensity and duration of your workouts. On the Xponential+ platform, for instance, there are classes that range from 20 minutes to an hour. "Our coaches provide options for low-impact exercises and guide you through every aspect of the class, ensuring plenty of repetition for you to master the steps," Tucker points out. Starting with a 20-minute session and repeating it several times to get the hang of it is recommended before progressing to another session. "Like any newly acquired skill, the more practice you put into it, the more proficient you become and the faster you can learn the choreography," Tucker adds. It's worth noting that each type of dance cardio has its own distinctive style and flavor, according to Bollinger. Thus, different methods will not yield the same results, so it may take some trial and error to find one that suits you best. Jain's class, for example, takes you on a journey through Masala Bhangra, an Indian cardio fitness program where you'll feel like you're dancing in a Bollywood film. "By the conclusion of the session, you will have the desire to attend an Indian wedding," she says. Zumba, on the other hand, is a Latin-inspired dance cardio workout that incorporates choreographed movements — while AKT's dance cardio sessions combine dance cardio with full-body strength and dynamic flexibility intervals. Are you prepared to sweat, enhance your flexibility, and improve your memory? Discover your ideal dance cardio style from the listed classes. Regardless of the workout you choose, expect to leave the class drenched in sweat and grinning from ear to ear.

There are no comments yet!

© 2023 All rights reserved.
View Sitemap