LEP Fitness


Dancing your way to fitness…

Glitz and glamour ... and weight loss

You may have noticed that I like fitness. In fact, some of you might even say that I live and breathe it. However, no matter how much I try to convince friends, family, and the readers of this blog that the best route to a healthy body is through regular exercise and a healthy diet, there are always some folks who simply can’t be convinced to set foot in the gym. They think it’s boring and fail to see the attraction of sweating through an hour and a half in a steamy room.

I get it. What’s more, in some ways I agree (about the sweaty bit that is). But that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to give up on your personal fitness goals. If the thought of a gym or even running makes you yawn with anticipated boredom, then all you need is a new approach. And that approach is dancing.

Yes, you read that right. Dancing in any shape or form is an incredible workout for the body, and it’s absolutely not boring.

Once considered a pastime for seniors and about-to-be-wed couples, Ballroom Dancing is enjoying its time in the spotlight. It’s now one of the most watched forms of dancing and an increasingly popular way to shed a few pounds. And that’s mostly thanks to the dancing stars and many celebrities that take to the floor each year in shows such as Strictly Come Dancing.

Now, I know what you’re thinking and yes, to get as good as those stars on TV takes a lot of time and some pretty rigorous training. But are you here to win prizes or are you here because you think the gym is boring? I’m betting it’s the latter and that’s why I believe that your best bet is to spend two days a week at dancing classes doing the cha-cha, the waltz, or even better some salsa.

A serious calorie burner

Just as an example of how great a calorie burner dancing is, let’s head across the pond to the US where Hollywood star Kirstie Alley took part in the US version of Dancing with the Stars. She was the runner-up on the show but won the biggest prize as she lost an incredible 100 pounds at 60 years of age!

Back here in the UK, Breakfast TV presenter Susanna Reid lost a stone during her six weeks on Strictly Come Dancing. Of course, both of these stars had the benefit of an open schedule where they could fit in an incredible amount of training, but you see where I’m going with this; dancing helps you lose weight.

Dancing consistently for an hour can help the body burn as much as 500calories. While this is dependent on the type of dancing involved and the size and weight of the dancer, it puts dancing on a par with running in terms of calories burned per session. The difference being that dancing can be a whole lot more fun for those who don’t like exercise. And that brings us to another unexpected advantage of this type of exercise.

A matter of the mind

When you work your way through a waltz or swing your partner around to some salsa music, you need to remember each step and movement and react should something go amiss. This means that throughout your routine your mind is active and focused on the task at hand which is a superb way to give yourself a little mental boost while exercising.

Not only does this give your brain a workout but it also makes time pass quickly. This means that you have less time to ponder your reasons for doing the exercise and remained focused on the goal. Anyone who has tried the gym and found it boring will understand exactly what I mean here. Less time to think means less chance you’ll give up.

And for those of you who find running or exercise in general a little unfulfilling, dancing provides a quick confidence boost as it’s easier to see the results of your efforts. You learn some simple steps, and even if you can only manage the most basic of basic moves, it is still a visible improvement on your skills giving you the motivation to continue onto the next step.

Now, this is no industry secret or new fad. Dancing classes aimed at those who wish to lose weight have been around for many years. But for those of you who find it hard to stay motivated at the gym or while running the country roads outside your hometown, it does provide a fun and alternative way to stay in shape. And who knows, if you get really good, maybe there might be a few prizes in it for you.