What is Cardio Dance?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

It’s not difficult to notice that most dancers are in good physical shape, due to the great muscular and significant cardiovascular workout. Since the average person doesn’t have time to spend four or more hours a day dancing, she might instead turn to classes or videos that feature cardio dance. These can be variable but they are usually high-energy exercise experiences that incorporate dance moves from many different types of dancing, such as Latin, African, ballet, and others.

Ballroom dancing is a great way to workout and have fun.
Ballroom dancing is a great way to workout and have fun.

What makes cardio dance different from simply taking a dance class is that moves employed are tailored to increase heart rate to a desired percentage of maximum. People can adjust the degree to which they’re working out so they don’t exceed target heart rate. This might be done by not incorporating arm movements, dancing with less vigor, or even taking short breaks during exercise.

Cardio dance incorporates moves from different disciplines, including ballet.
Cardio dance incorporates moves from different disciplines, including ballet.

Like a dance class, some of cardio dance may include learning short routines. These can be fun to do, but are sometimes daunting to the person who has never studied dance before. The degree to which routines are difficult really depends on the individual instructor and design of a class. Some DVDs or tapes have an additional mini-class on the routines so people can get practice ahead of time.

Cardio dance may include learning short routines.
Cardio dance may include learning short routines.

Length of classes vary, but usually are at least 30 minutes long, giving time for a quick warm-up, 15 minutes of vigorous dancing, and then a cool down. More often, classes are at least 45 minutes to an hour in length. After the cardio section, which could extend to 20 minutes, an exercise portion could be involved. Instructors may draw from exercises used in real dance environments, like in ballet, or they could design an exercise plan from other sources, such as pilates or yoga. Sometimes exercises come before a cardio section, and serve as a way to increase heart rate.

Cardio dance is designed to increase heart rate to a desired percentage.
Cardio dance is designed to increase heart rate to a desired percentage.

The type of dance practiced in cardio dance may be variable. Programs like Jazzercise®, which was one of the first to incorporate more dance-like moves into a cardiovascular workout, principally draw from jazz dancing. Others combine dancing from a variety of possible types, and some programs may even add in martial arts elements.

Some cardio dance instructors are also certified to teach yoga.
Some cardio dance instructors are also certified to teach yoga.

Since there exists such variation in cardio dance, it’s a good idea to watch a few classes before deciding on the best one. People should definitely determine if the moves attempted might be too challenging or not challenging enough. If it’s been a long time since people have exercised and/or if they have any health conditions, they should get clearance with a doctor prior to beginning any exercise program. Lastly, people should not worry about making mistakes in any types of routines; these are natural. With lots of practice, mistakes tend to decrease and dancing for body and heart health may become more fun.

Since there exists such variation in cardio dance, it’s a good idea to watch a few classes before deciding on the best one.
Since there exists such variation in cardio dance, it’s a good idea to watch a few classes before deciding on the best one.
Sprinting can help a person build up the stamina required for cardio dance.
Sprinting can help a person build up the stamina required for cardio dance.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

Sunny27

@Crispety - I love those video games too. They are some much fun. Those are the few video games that I let my children play with because at least they are getting a good workout.

Sometimes I play with them and we take turns being scored by the game. It is nice that the game gives you positive feedback because it really keeps you from quitting. I used to buy exercise videos but they are boring compared to this.

Crispety

Subway11 -I agree with you. I also think that with a cardio dance DVD you really don’t have to have the routine down to get cardio benefits because as long as you are exerting some effort and continually moving you will burn calories.

You really don’t have to be perfect in order to get fit and the music in the background also helps to keep you motivated.

I really love the dance video games that challenge you to match the steps of the singer. It is really fun because the steps are slow enough that you can easily follow along and the screen gives you feedback that will say things like you are perfect or doing good.

At the end it gives you a score and each song has a different routine. My kids love it and they get some cardio dance fitness in as well. They often make mistakes but it doesn’t matter because they are still having fun and getting a great workout.

This video game is also great for adults that want to pick different songs to workout to because each song has a different routine.

subway11

I think that a cardio dance workout DVD is a great way to get fit because it is so much fun. I think that when exercise becomes so specific it becomes mechanical and you get caught up with performing the exercise the exact way and don’t really develop too many cardio benefits because you are so busy learning the form.

I think that a cardio dance workout focusing on salsa dancing is fun and really works your hips because the moves are repetitive and easy. There is nothing complicated about salsa because it is basically moving your hips side to side as you move around.

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