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Nine Dance Exercises that are Popular Now

Look out Dancing With the Stars. People are hitting the dance floor with a newfound determination and drive, and they're doing it with their health in mind.

Aerobic dancing

Aerobic dancing can burn 540+ calories an hour!

At home, at a dance studio and even at the gym, more and more people are discovering what dancers have known all along: dancing is an incredibly good workout. According to Mayo Clinic researchers, social dancing helps to:

  • Reduce stress

  • Increase energy

  • Improve strength

  • Increase muscle tone and coordination

Meanwhile, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), dancing can:

  • Lower your risk of coronary heart disease

  • Decrease blood pressure

  • Help you manage your weight

  • Strengthen the bones of your legs and hips

Of course, the amount of benefit you get from dancing depends on, like most exercises, the type of dancing you're doing, how strenuous it is, the duration and your skill level. This is why dance exercises, which bring all different types of dance up to a workout-level routine, are now so popular.

If you're interested in trying one out for yourself, here are nine of the most popular.

1. Belly Dancing

Belly dancing was once used as a Middle Eastern fertility ritual. Now, women are using it to tone their abs and hips. Belly dancing is also known to:

  • Improve posture and muscle toning

  • Maintain flexibility

  • Help prevent lower back problems

  • Tone and firm arms and shoulders

  • Help with weight loss

  • Help prepare women for childbirth

  • Reduce stress

2. Cardio Striptease

Cardio striptease involves moves from yoga, gymnastics, and burlesque-style dancing, all done in a slow, undulating routine. Tone your butt, hips, thighs, calves and abs, all while getting in touch with your sensual side.

3. Masala Bhangra

This cardio workout is based on the traditional folk dance of India, set to hip-hop infused bhangra music and drums. It is especially good for toning your arms and shoulders.

dance exercises

Most dance exercises involve aerobics to get your heart pumping, along with strengthening moves to tone your muscles.

4. Dance Dance Revolution (DDR)

This videogame is popular with kids and adults alike. It has a pad with arrows that you dance on according to the steps in the game, and as the pace speeds up, it gives benefits similar to high-impact aerobics. There's even a mode to track how many calories you've burned during each game.

5. Cardio Salsa

This fast-paced high-intensity workout combines the classic Latin dance steps with aerobic moves like lunges and arm raises. This one is great for your core muscles and your rear.

6. Vegas Jazz

These jazz moves are all done while you keep your posture very straight (think Vegas showgirl style), and at the end you'll have a whole performance to put together. Vegas jazz will work your abs, back, butt and legs, all while helping to improve your posture.

The Essential Component of EVERY Workout Routine? Stretching!

Stretching ProgramProper stretching using Stretching Toward a Healthier Life, the top-recommended DVD by stretching expert Jacques Gauthier, is one of the most widely recommended methods to help you look and feel younger, live longer, avoid and even overcome serious health issues, and increase your mental concentration and emotional well-being.

Find out More About Stretching Toward a Healthier Life Now!

7. Cardio Capoeira

If you're looking for a challenge, capoeira will give it to you. This is a form of martial arts that is disguised as a dance (it was used by Brazilian slaves who were training for combat undercover), and it involves kicking, spinning and cartwheels that tone your butt, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Check out this great short capoeira video.

8. Dance Trance

This is a dance fitness class that incorporates moves from funk, Latin, jazz, and hip hop, in routines that will tone your entire body.

9. Jazzercise

The original dance fitness, total-body conditioning program that combines the art of jazz dance and the beat of popular music.

Recommended Reading

The Health Benefits of Dancing -- Including Specific Benefits of Different Dances

How to Most Effectively Start Working Out When You Haven't Exercised in Years


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