Have you seen an increase in demand for dance-based group fitness formats? Popular television programs like Dancing With the Stars have piqued the interests of many wanna-be dancers. Polly de Mille, exercise physiologist for the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, thinks she knows why.
“The best exercise program is one that is safe, balanced, promotes fitness and, importantly, one people will do regularly because they enjoy it,” she says. “The social aspects of dance help to make it very attractive for an increasing number of people versus, say, an elliptical training machine. Scientific studies are now also telling us that many things make dancing an excellent fitness regimen with attractive benefits.” Here are some of its many advantages, according to de Mille:
- Dance movements are multidirectional, which may benefit joint mobility.
- Dance movements are weight-bearing and varied; this is important for maintaining or improving bone density.
- Dance requires agility and balance as well as various speeds of movement, skills that are not necessarily emphasized in gym workouts.
- Dance is mentally stimulating, requiring focus on coordination and on the learning of movement patterns.
- Dance requires being mentally engaged with physical movement, a constant body-mind connection.
- Depending on the type, dance can be an excellent cardiovascular workout when done regularly.