Dancing is an excellent way to exercise, burn calories, and lose weight.
Aside from weight loss, dancing can also increase muscle strength and stamina, improve flexibility, balance, blood flow, and sleep, and reduce stress, depression, and the risk for certain chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease .
How many calories can you burn by dancing?
As with most exercise, the faster you move, the more calories you will burn, and the more weight you will likely lose.
Calories burned in 30 minutes :
● Ballet: 179 calories
● Ballroom: 118 calories
● Hip-hop: 207 calories
● Salsa: 143 calories
● Swing: 207 calories
● Country Western Line Dancing: 172 calories
● Tap: 164 calories
*Note: the number of calories burned are estimates for someone who weigh 68 kg. Those who weigh less will likely burn fewer calories, while those who weigh more will burn more.
Options for dancing & weight loss
A 30-minute dance class can burn anywhere between 130 – 250 calories, which is about the same as jogging .
Most gyms offer dance classes, and there are also many online dance videos you can follow to see which genre you enjoy the most. Here are some popular options, along with benefits and drawbacks to consider:
Zumba is a dance fitness program, usually set to Latin or other international music. Because it alternates between fast and slow movements, the short, high-intensity bursts help you lose more calories than dances that require you to move at a consistent speed throughout. This will help you to tone and strengthen your muscles .
● Greater chance for weight loss (burns 9.5 calories per minute)
● Decreased pain sensitivity
● Social benefits of a group class workout
Hip-hop is high-intensity and high-impact, and can include everything from break dancing to more modern dance-like moves .
● High calorie burn
● Muscle strength (especially in legs and core)
● Increased agility and coordination
● High risk of injury due to high-impact, repetitive motions. Make sure to rest between dance sessions!
Ballet may be slow, but it is a great classical dance form that is focused on precise movements and technique. Barre is similar, but also incorporates yoga and Pilates into the workout .
● Increased muscle tone and strength (especially in legs and core)
● Improved posture
● Better flexibility, agility, and coordination
4. Pole Dancing
Pole dancing, which involves holding yourself up on the pole and twisting and creating shapes with your body, is a great cardio exercise option .
● Increased flexibility (especially in back and legs)
● Increased upper body strength
● Higher fat burn from the strength training movements
● Not suitable for anyone with hand, wrist, shoulder, knee, or back injuries due to the gripping and twisting nature of the dance.
● Requires training with an instructor to avoid injury.
5. Ballroom Dancing
Partner dances like the Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, and Salsa may be low-impact, but they are a great aerobic workout, especially for anyone who may have joint issues .
● Increased muscle strength (especially in core, legs, and back)
● Better flexibility and balance
● Cognitive benefits, such as improvements to memory as you work to remember the steps
Dancing is a fun and effective way to lose weight, but don’t forget to be safe, especially if you’re taking up a new dance form. Always :
● Warm up and stretch before you start dancing
● Drink water and stay hydrated during and after you dance
● Ensure your form is correct to limit your risk for injury
● Take rest days
● Cool down after you exercise
If you feel pain at any point, STOP! Dancing might be challenging, but it should never hurt.
1. Hersh, E., 2020. Can You Lose Weight with Dancing?. [online] Healthline.
Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/dancing-to-lose-weight [Accessed 1 March 2021].
2. Helmer, J., 2020. Dancing as a Workout. [online] Jumpstart by WebMD.
Available at: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/dance-for-exercise [Accessed 1 March 2021].