Dance for Your Health

Looking for a workout that doesn’t feel like one? Hit the dance floor! Dancing is one of the most enjoyable ways to help maintain strong bones, improve balance, and stay at a healthy weight.

Dancing is also a chance to socialize. Being socially engaged may lower your risk of conditions like heart disease and depression. And dancing itself has even been linked to better brain health and improved cognitive ability.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a great dancer, there’s likely a style that matches your comfort level. Look into the options at your local rec center, gym, or adult dance studio. Here are a few favorites.

Country Line or Soul Line

Whether you like country-western or R&B, line dancing may be the easiest way to get started. Routines are matched to familiar songs or beats, so mastering the footwork is usually relatively easy.

Zumba and Aqua Zumba

It’s more about fun and moving to a Latin groove than perfecting steps. Instructors tailor the movements to suit the dancers. Try Aqua Zumba in a pool for exercise that puts less stress on your joints.

Ballroom

Ballroom is especially suitable if you have a dance partner who enjoys close contact. Some ballroom classes welcome singles.

Salsa

If you like the idea of an upbeat partner dance but want a little physical distance, salsa could be the spicy Latin style for you.

Swing

Swing can be a line dance like the shim-sham shimmy, a classic like the jitterbug, or a more complex style with unlimited moves. Whatever form it takes, swing dancing tends to be varied and lively.

Jazzercise

Today’s version of the ’90s classic often combines dance with elements of yoga and kickboxing for a full-body workout. 

Tap

Tap dancing involves fancy footwork to many different rhythms, which means it’s excellent for building leg strength and flexibility. If balance is an issue, clogging might be more suitable.

Folk

Check out moves from all over the world, such as African, klezmer (Eastern European Jewish), Irish, and Polish. With so much musical diversity, you’ll be sure to find a beat that suits your fitness level.

Know Before You Go

Here are a few things to bear in mind before you get started.

  • Check with your physician if you have concerns about starting a new activity.
  • Warm up with gentle stretches.
  • Avoid dancing on concrete or other hard surfaces, which can be tough on your feet, knees, and hips.
  • Cushioned footwear helps.
  • Learning the steps can take time. Don’t feel like you have to be the next contestant on Dancing with the Stars.