Part 2: To Dance or not to Dance, that is thy Sport…

Friday, April 23, 2010, 17:54

by Jean-Claude Dimech

Dancing, no matter which style, is a discipline. A discipline which demands good technique and develops posture, balance and poise. Dancing improves both mental and physical coordination and is recognized as a distinct form of social recreation.

To become a comfortable social dancer requires expert instruction and regular practice. Once this level is achieved, a dancer’s performance tends to escalate with continued involvement, and it is not uncommon for beginners to become more competitive in a relatively short period of time. The pleasure of executing steps correctly with good poise, posture and rhythm will more than compensate for the time it takes to learn them.

For many participants, ballroom dancing is a hobby which provides a pleasant means of obtaining healthy physical activity in a non-smoking, non-alcoholic environment. The heart and lungs receive aerobic stimulation which improves stamina and endurance. The back muscles become stronger, and the legs, ankles and feet adapt with improved condition. On a mental level, one must memorize dance patterns, coordinate body movement with musical rhythm and learn intricate leads & follows. In general, this activity is a full-body toner and creates a positive mental attitude.

Considered to be one of the top five physical activities, dancing can give you a great mind-body workout. Partner dancing was recently featured on the Top 10 Health Trends 2009, “The Doctors” show on CBS (from Jan. 7th, 2009).

It will increase and improve:

  • Cardiovascular Health — as an intense aerobic exercise, it strengthens the heart, decreases the risk of high blood pressure
  • Stamina and Endurance
  • Strengthens bones and muscles without hurting your joints
  • Flexibility
  • Posture, Body Alignment, and Balance
  • Brain Capacity — from the physical exercise, there’s increased blood flow to the brain, the release of endorphins (feel good chemicals) into the bloodstream is stimulated; nerve cells are encouraged to grow; stress and depression are reduced. Mental challenges (learning new sets of skills) and kinesthetic memory (memorizing complex steps, sequences, body postures; moving in time and staying with the rhythm of the music) are boosted.

The aerobic nature of partner dancing stimulates weight loss (a 150 pound adult can burn about 150 calories during 30 minutes of moderate social dancing) and generally tones the entire body keeping you in top shape. Many people turn to social dancing when more traditional programs fall by the wayside, either because of injury or sheer boredom; plus, it serves as a wonderful stress relief.

[1]Rachelle Stretch from the English Amateur Dancesport Association (EADA) carried out a study into the athleticism of dancesport [the official term for competitive ballroom and Latin dancing] for Dance Today.

She discovered that medical research shows dancesport is comparable with other sporting activities such as basketball, squash and cross country running. Dancers perform at over 80 percent of their maximum oxygen consumption level and burn at least 300 calories per hour*.

A study by the University of Freiburg found that the exertion and breathing rates of dancesport athletes performing a single dance were the same as cyclists, swimmers and 800m runners over the same two minute period. The study for instance also showed that a vigorous Rumba requires the same exertion as a foot or bicycle race over a similar period of time and burns the same number of calories (330 per hour).

*British Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol 22, Issue 2 57-60 Heart rate and estimated energy expenditure during ballroom dancing



  1. mark scicluna says:

    nice aticle about dancing !



    Hello tks for your comment if you’re interested get in contact with us visit our website or join us on facebook we are constantly looking for dance enthuisiasts! or join us on FaceBook : Malta Dancesport / page MALTA DANCESPORT ASSOCIATION


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