If you’ve ever gone to a concert or out dancing and looked down at your fitness watch afterward, you know from experience that dancing counts as some serious physical activity.

But does it technically qualify as cardio? What are the benefits of dance cardio? How is it different from other forms of cardio? And how can you get the most out of your dance moves?

We’ll cover all that and more in this dance-focused blog.

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Is Dancing Cardio?

If you’ve ever asked the question, “Does dancing count as cardio?,” you’re not alone. The short answer is yes, dancing is considered a form of cardio. Dancing counts as cardio because it elevates our heart rate (as long as the intensity is high enough), causes us to break a sweat, and induces shortness of breath—just like other forms of cardiovascular exercises, such as running and brisk walking.

Benefits of Dancing as Cardio

We all know the benefits of cardio (e.g. helps with weight management, sleep, mood, cognitive function, pain management, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc.), but there are added benefits to dancing as cardio over other forms of traditional cardiovascular exercise.

The added benefits of dancing over other forms of cardio:

  • Dancing is easier on the joints: Unlike other forms of cardio that use repetitive motion, dancing gets you to constantly shift your weight in different directions instead of just going forward like you would with walking or running.
  • Dancing is less repetitive: This helps people stay interested, engaged, and free from boredom. When you’re more engaged in a workout, you’re more likely to stay motivated.
  • Dancing is more of a whole-body workout: Choreographed dancing, in particular, uses all parts of your body (legs, arms, core, etc.) to string together a wide variety of movements. These motions activate small muscles and larger muscle groups, engaging your entire body.
  • Dancing lets you work your muscles in different ways: Instead of doing repetitive motions like lifting weights, dance helps you explore new movements through choreography, enhancing your coordination and activating a unique mind-body connection. Choreographed dance also helps to develop new neural connections in the brain, deepening your focus and concentration while entering a state of “flow.”
  • Dancing helps with flexibility and balance: When you dance, you execute a series of agile movements that expand your range of motion—this naturally results in improved flexibility and balance.
  • Dancing is good for your social life: Whether it’s joining a dance class or going out on the town with friends, dance is a great way to improve your social skills. Dance also opens up more opportunities for you to meet new people and build meaningful connections.
  • Dancing can be done anywhere. You can take dance classes in person or from the privacy of your own home through online videos or live classes.

The downsides of dancing:

While there aren’t many cons to dancing, there are a couple of things that may hold people back from engaging in the activity.

  • Dancing can be uncomfortable for some people. It can make people feel self-conscious if they’re worried about other people watching them.
  • Learning choreography can be difficult for some people and be more of a stressful situation than an enjoyable one.

How to Get the Most Out of Dancing as Aerobic Exercise

To get the most out of dance workouts, consider the following:

  1. Let go of any self-judgment. Enter your dance workouts with an open mind. There’s no right or wrong way to dance. As long as you’re having fun and enjoying yourself (and breaking a sweat), you’re doing it right.
  2. Forget about calories. Dancing should never be about how many calories you burn. Instead, set SMART fitness goals, like dancing for a specific number of minutes per day, to appreciate dancing as the full-body workout it is and enjoy the countless mental and physical health benefits it provides.
  3. Incorporate anaerobic exercise. Adding bodyweight strength exercises and resistance training to your dance workout, such as squats and crunches, will create a more complete and well-rounded workout that helps you maintain a healthy body composition.
  4. Wear ankle weights for an added challenge. You can even wear ankle weights while dancing to work up more of a sweat and burn more calories.  

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Is Dancing Better Cardio Than Running?

Neither activity is better than the other. Both dancing and running are excellent forms of cardiovascular exercise. The comparison between dancing and running, however, is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison, as they’re very different forms of cardio. Running is higher-impact and increases bone mineral density, while dancing is a lot easier on the joints, promotes movement in multiple planes of motion, and falls somewhere between running and walking when it comes to exertion.

At the end of the day, dancing, running, and walking are all great ways to achieve aerobic exercise and incorporating all three into your fitness routine is the best way to keep your workouts varied and interesting.

Is 30 Minutes of Dancing Good Cardio?

30 minutes of dancing is great cardio. Depending on the style of dancing, the intensity, and your weight, you can work up quite the sweat during a dance class and improve your cardiovascular health, balance, and coordination.

Get Your Cardio Workout With MIRROR’s Dance Classes

Instead of paying expensive dance studio fees, unlock MIRROR’s massive library of dance classes while also gaining access to our endless library of workout classes. MIRROR teleports you into a professional dance class from the comfort of your own home. Attend a live dance class online or stream a previously recorded class on demand if you want time to pause and rewind to really understand the steps.

MIRROR has every level of dance class from beginner to advanced and a wide variety of styles, including hip hop dancing, Latin, ballet, and more. You can even select the class duration, which ranges from 5 minutes to 45 minutes.

Our dance instructors will lead you through every move and help you achieve a great cardio workout. You’ll have so much fun, you won’t even realize you’re working out.

Feel the rhythm with MIRROR’s dance classes. Sign up for a free trial and gain access to MIRROR’s full library of exclusive workout classes.
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