When you're burned out from the daily jog, the elliptical machine and the cardio-boxing, shake your booty to lose a few pounds. Hip-hop, Horton and ballet are expressive workouts that eat calories. So lace up your sneakers, tie on your pointe shoes and hit the dance floor to get your heart rate up and get in shape.
Move It and Lose It
One way to lower your weight is to increase your aerobic activity, and a pleasant way to do that is dancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity exercise that causes your heart to beat faster and gets you breathing harder. Aerobic activity should last for a minimum of 10 minutes at a time for basic fitness, but adding minutes and increasing intensity will improve cardiovascular health and burn more calories. You need to work off 500 extra calories each day to lose a pound each week. A daily half-hour of dance is vigorous, sustained exercise that can show up on your scale as a satisfying weight loss.
Muscles from Mambo
Regular dance builds lean muscle, and muscle burns calories even when you aren't active. Ballet barre and center exercises tone and strengthen muscles required for leg extensions, jumps and leaps. Jazz works your legs and core for those sinuous and spectacular bends and sexy shimmies. Hip-hop and step dancing build muscles for explosive moves and high-intensity endurance. A half-hour -- or more -- of dance each day tones your body and boosts your metabolism. The Mayo Clinic points out that muscle mass uses more calories than fat tissue and is a major contributor to weight loss.
Calories Danced Off
How much you lose depends on your weight, age, gender, body type and style of dance, but you can estimate calories burned in a 30-minute dance class or aerobic dance workout. According to fatburn.com, for example, a 150-pound person will use, on average, about 233 calories per half-hour doing hip-hop; 154 calories for disco, step dancing or polka; 103 calories for fox-trot, tango and mambo; 164 calories for ballet, modern, jazz and tap; and 221 calories for aerobic dance, a cardio class. Since most classes last between 45 minutes and an hour or more, your calorie expenditure from dancing can add up.
Injury-Free Dance Workouts
Don't let injury keep you off the dance floor or away from your daily samba session. Always warm up before dance, just as you would for any aerobic or strength training activity. Learn proper alignment and how to execute moves from a professional -- many dance studios have open classes for beginners. Lessons, like ballroom dancing instruction, provide exercise opportunity while you master the steps. Remember that dance should be sustained to be aerobic. A stop-and-start class may not raise your heart rate sufficiently to be beneficial for weight loss. Dance Magazine says even professional dancers should be cautious about high-intensity and high-impact exercise. Check in with your doctor if you have health issues or a medical condition before throwing yourself into break-dancing or a Bollywood class.