“If you can't excel with talent, triumph with effort.” - Dave Weinbaum
If you’ve tried to lose weight you’ve probably tried diets and a variety of different exercises. However, if you’re not a fan of sport or exercises, losing weight isn’t necessarily easy. Not everyone is interested in exercising and it’s usually just mindless effort. However, there is a way to lose weight while having fun: dancing.
Be it waltz, bachata, pasodoble, Zumba, or salsa, regardless of the style of dance, you can express yourself while also working on your body. You don’t need to know how to dance or to attend a dance school. Even if you’re dancing is terrible, it’s the movement that counts.
Moving your body in time to music is a way to burn calories without even realising. As you’ll have understood, whether you’re doing ballroom dancing, ballet, oriental dance, or Latin dance, you’ll also need to couple this with a good diet. A balanced diet doesn’t need to be really restrictive but it’s still important.
In this article, Superprof is looking at giving you the keys to losing weight through dancing, whether you’re dancing on your own, with a partner, or in a group.
Can You Really Lose Weight through Dancing?
The obvious answer is yes. Whether you’re doing the boogie, chacha, Cuban salsa, Argentine tango, or modern jazz, dancing can help you to lose weight while having fun. If you burn more calories than you consume, your body will start burning fat to provide you with energy.
Of course, each type of dancing uses muscle groups differently. The style will also affect how many calories you burn. That said, if you put the effort in, you’ll burn an excess of calories. Some styles can help you burn more calories than others:
On average, an hour of dancing will burn between 200 and 600 calories. Both an exercise bike and free weights can burn around 300 calories during an hour.
Studies show that dancing burns around four times as many calories than you would at rest and when it comes to weight loss, salsa, jive, and tango are some of the best ways to do it.
So are you ready to start doing Puertorican salsa, Bollywood dancing, tap, or mambo?
So yes, dancing can help you lose weight.
You won’t lose weight dancing on a night out after tonnes of drinks or while waiting for a kebab on the way home. After all, as we said, if you want to burn body fat, you need to make sure that there are more calories burned than calories consumed so that your body needs to turn to fat burning in order to lose weight. Of course, doing moderate or high-intensity exercise will encourage your body to turn to burn fat.
If you’re going to get the most out of your exercise, you’ll need a healthy lifestyle, too. You need to eat well without consuming too much fat, salt, or sugar.
The most important thing when you’re exercising is to not ignore your diet or starve yourself. If you don’t eat enough, you won’t have the energy to do any exercise or recover after a session. Eat healthily when you’re hungry. You can find plenty of nice stuff that’s also healthy in most big supermarkets.
Frequency: An Important Factor
Dancers often have a sculpted physique and they owe this to regular training and working out. However, if you’re not trying to become a professional dancer, you’ll have a bit more freedom. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, dancing can help you burn calories and lose weight.
The important thing is how often you dance. Like in dancing itself, you can’t miss a step. You need to really think about dancing at least three times a week. For example, somebody who weighs around 9 and a half stone could lose around a quarter of a pound a month by dancing three times per week. Somebody who weighs around 11 stone would lose around a pound. In a year, you could lose a stone just by having fun.
Furthermore, you could even consider doing two-hour sessions. Somebody who weighs around 9 and a half stone could lose around a pound a month by dancing for two hours three times per week. Somebody who weighs around 11 stone would lose around a pound and a half.
Our advice is to not overdo it unless you really love dancing!
Weight Loss by Dance Style
The number of calories that you’ll burn during a session will depend on the type of dancing that you’re doing. Latin dance for an hour will help you lose more weight than shuffling your feet for a couple of hours in a club.
To give you a better idea, here’s a list of styles and the average number of calories they burn.
- Salsa: between 405 and 480
- Hip hop: between 370 and 610
- Zumba: between 350 and 650
- Country: between 290 and 420
- Pole dancing: between 250 and 350
- Swing: between 300 and 550
- Ballet: between 380 and 450
- Break dancing: between 400 and 650
- Samba: around 240
- Tango: around 240
- Jive: around 370
On average, slower dances will burn between 150 and 220 calories per hour whereas quicker dances will burn between 250 and 320 calories. If your goal is to lose weight quickly, then you’ll want to do intense styles like Zumba, Kizomba, or quick step.
Generally, no two workouts are the same, but there's an average metabolic rate you'll achieve depending on the intensity of the dancing, which will affect the calorie burn. That said, you need to make sure that you're doing aerobic exercise and burning calories more quickly than you're consuming them.
If you have no idea how to do the cha-cha, merengue, ragga or dancehall, boogie-woogie, jazz, or rock, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to learn more about the subject. You can watch video tutorials online which won’t cost you a penny.
If you still aren’t getting the hang of it, you can always get lessons from a dance teacher or private tutor. This can kill two birds with one stone. Whether you’re doing ballet, salsa, tango, rock, or contemporary, there are plenty of ways to learn how to dance and lose weight.
Putting Together a Programme for Losing Weight
The two factors that affect how much weight you’ll lose is your diet and your dance sessions. Exercising burns calories, tones muscles, and increasing your metabolism. However, exercise isn’t the only thing to consider when trying to lose weight. Some say that what you do is only 30% of it and what you eat is 70% of it.
It’s also important to put together a programme that you’re going to follow. Don’t plan to dance for two hours three times a week if you don’t feel up to it. Dancing isn’t something you can take lightly, even if it is a slow waltz, a bit of salsa, African dance, or modern dance.
Don’t forget to warm up, either. Even if you’re really flexible and athletic, you’ll need to prepare your body for the session. Similarly, at the end of each session, you should do some stretches, especially for your legs. Like many other types of exercise, dancing is great because you can do it anywhere:
“Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.” - Oprah Winfrey
So if you want to burn calories, improve your physique, and have fun, dance whenever you can. All you have to do now is start dancing and burn off those excess calories. Every calorie counts, after all.
Superprof can help by providing private dance tutorials. Don’t forget that many tutors also offer the first hour free!
Additionally, a tutor can help you put together a programme for weight loss including foods that will help. If your body weight is higher than you'd like or your body mass index indicates that you may be overweight, it might be worth considering a change in your lifestyle and nutrition. Your tutor can put together a plan for how often you're going to dance, the types of food you should be eating, and the workouts you should be doing when they're not there.
Of course, check with a doctor before making any significant changes to your routine. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you may want to think about your energy expenditure and calories per day.