June 08, 2017

Dance as an exercise form has become the preferred fitness option for those who find gyms dreary and traditional workouts cumbersome.

Starting with good ol' Aerobics, dance exercises have come to include Hip-hop, Salsa, Bhangra, Bollywood, Belly Dance and Zumba® – offering fun ways to lose the flab and get fit. Alberto 'Beto' Perez, the founder of Zumba Fitness, calls it 'fitness in disguise'. 

Dance is a fun way to a healthier life. Image Source


The term 'Aerobics' was coined in 1968, courtesy Dr Kenneth Cooper's extensive experience in the US Army and US Air Force developing military fitness tests and collaborations with NASA. Around the same time, Jazz dancer Judi Sheppard Missett founded 'Jazzercise' and it became an instant hit in many parts of the world. What followed was dance aerobics that incorporated a wide variety of musical and dance styles, such as country, hip-hop, and even African dance. Zumba created by Alberto 'Beto' Perez in the 1990s, has added global influences of Hip-hop, Pop and Bollywood to its latin rhythms. 

Contrary to popular perception, dance exercise is not just for women. Men, non-dancers, senior citizens, children, everybody can benefit from it.

Whether you are battling depression or dealing with chemotherapy, dance-fitness can be a saviour and a happiness agent, as The Good City crew discovered earlier. For time-starved professionals, dance fitness on YouTube offer the benefits of a fun workout within the comforts of their homes.

Typically, Zumba choreography is easy-to-follow and repetitive. One can burn 1000 calories an hour, dancing to groovy latin music.

Fitness form Works best for Difficulty level
Zumba Full-body workout and cardio exercise; *burns 600-1000 calories an hour. Easy – you should be able to follow most steps in 2-3 classes.
Aerobics Improves cardiac strength, tones large muscle groups; *burns 400-600 calories an hour. Easy to moderate – you can choose from different levels of intensity.
Salsa Strengthens glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and core; *burns 300-600 calories an hour. Easy to moderate – you start with the beginner level and progress onto intermediate and advanced levels.
Hip-hop Cardio workout, great for toning thighs, glutes, calves; *burns 350-750 calories an hour. Easy to hard – depending on whether you join at the beginner level or advanced levels.
Bollywood Improves flexibility, builds stamina, tones the body; *burns 500-700 calories an hour. Easy to moderate – the key is to get the body language right.
Belly dancing Develops core strength, increases flexibility, improves posture; *burns 300-400 calories an hour. Moderate to challenging – learning to isolate your hips, chest and other body parts to rhythm can take time.

(*The calories you can burn depends on your body weight and the intensity level of your movement.)   Text by Jisha Krishnan