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Learn to Let Loose and Make Fitness Fun with the Power of Dance

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Sometimes routine indoor workouts become just that – routine. A new exercise class might be your answer.

Ready to get moving? Cooper Fitness Center group exercise director, Scotty Esquibel, M.S., explains that you may practice any style of dance to achieve fitness goals. As long as you are dancing for 30 minutes most days of the week, sweating, and able to breathe, you are dancing down the right path to fitness.

Aerobic dance vs. other activities
The great thing about any type of aerobic dance is that you are working almost every muscle in your body. Many forms of aerobic exercise involve lower body function, such as running and cycling. However, with aerobic dance choreographed moves include the upper body as well. So not only do you strengthen upper and lower body muscles, but you improve coordination between the two.

“Aerobic dance lets you let loose and dance like no one is watching—all while getting a fun, intense workout,” said Shannon Rene, Cooper Fitness Center group exercise instructor.

Aerobic dance popularity
Aerobic dance became popular when Judi Sheppard-Missett founded the Jazzercise program in 1969. After the introduction of Jazzercise, dancing to get in shape became the newest trend and hasn’t slowed down. Dance has even made its way into primetime television with shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”

"These shows have had a positive impact in creating excitement and interest in dancing," said Scotty. "Many times, when I teach a dance class, my participants want to know if I saw the latest airing of one of these programs because they want to learn some of the dance moves."

And don’t worry if you are not a natural dancer, aerobic dances are for everyone. If you can move, shake, jiggle, and wiggle, you will find a great workout in dancing.

Start shaking at home
If you find yourself a little shy before the next aerobic dance class, try some simple steps at home to loosen up. Scotty suggests a few tips to get you dance ready:

  • Wear proper shoes to protect joints and assist your movements. Look for shoes made specifically for dance aerobics.

  • Use music to learn steps. Dance aerobics music is usually a mix of continuous songs playing at 130 to 135 beats per minute. But you don’t need special aerobics music to practice. Just put on a song that you love and can dance to with passion!

It's easy to get started at home or at the gym by just shaking something. Below are three easy steps anyone can put to a beat:

  1. Basic March: Many dance aerobic classes begin with a basic march. Just walk in place, right and left alternating feet to the beat of the music. Once you are comfortable, spice it up a bit by moving your hips and putting some great arms with the footwork.

  2. Step Touch: Step out to the side on your right foot and then touch your left foot in next to it. Next, step out on the left foot and touch your right foot in. Step touch, step touch (side to side). You can also do this movement by stepping forwards and backwards.

  3. Grapevine: Step your right foot out to the side and let the left leg follow behind it. Then, step out again on right foot, and finally touch the left foot in, next to the right foot. Repeat to the left, starting with left foot out to the side. Step-behind-step-touch, step-behind-step-touch. This can also be done with the foot crossing in front instead of behind.

Anyone can try aerobic dance for a great workout. Cooper Fitness Center offers cardio dance classes, perfect for your dancing debut. For more information about Cooper Fitness Center, click here or call 972.233.4832.