Many dances and dance techniques require movements beyond our comfortable range of motion. These techniques stretch muscles and improve flexibility. Those who dance professionally must stretch as part of their training, improving their flexibility.
Improved Cardiovascular Function
Depending on the type and duration, dance can improve heart health by working the body’s cardiovascular system. In fact, many forms of aerobic exercises are combined with music and dance moves, like “aerobic dance,” “Jazzercise” and “Dancersize.”
Increased Muscle Mass
While many forms of dance do not put the muscles through heavy resistance routines, frequent repetition of muscle movements with even limited body weight resistance builds muscles, including muscles not used in day-to-day activities or other sports.
Increased Weight Loss
When done in conjunction with an aerobic workout, dance can be used to elevate heart rates and burn fat. Dancing can burn as many calories as swimming, cycling or walking, according to Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the Mayo Clinic. Even ballroom dancing and ballet practice, which may not be as strenuous as dance-structured workouts, raise the pulse, increasing calorie burning. Dancing that builds muscle also provides a weight-loss benefit, because added muscle mass results in more calories burned.
Improved Balance and Footwork
Due to the rhythmic nature of dance and its requisite need to coordinate body balance and dance steps, dance improves one’s footwork and balance, which are used in many sports, such as basketball, tennis, football, volleyball and skating.
Improved Bone Strength
The reliance on weight-bearing bones such as the fibula, tibia and femur to perform dance movements can help decrease the loss of bone mass associated with osteoporosis.