What is Cardio Salsa?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 January 2020
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Cardio salsa is a type of high-energy dance popular at fitness clubs and gyms. Using energetic Latin music and the basic moves of salsa dance, cardio salsa can provide a fantastic workout. Great for those that consider the treadmill an endless purgatory, a high-impact, fast-paced salsa class may be a workout revelation.

Salsa is a seductive and exciting dance popular in Latin America. Originating in Cuba and taking many influences from traditional Latin dance, this style is by nature energetic and fun. Rhythmic movements, hip swivels, and ultra-fast footwork are characteristic of this style of dance.

In a cardio salsa class, the goal is frequently to elevate the heart rate and sustain it at a cardio work pace. This way, the workout provides all the benefits of regular cardio while exercising in a very different, engaging fashion. According to some health experts, its possible to burn the same amount of calories doing high-energy dance as a person would when jogging for the same period of time.

Many cardio salsa classes begin with a dance-based warm up routine meant to stretch the body. In addition to waking up the body and preparing it for movement, this part of the routine is vital in helping to prevent injury. Classes also typically end with a similar cool-down session, meant to guide the thumping heart rate back to normal and stretch tired muscles to reduce fatigue and increase flexibility.


The main portion of a cardio salsa class is usually a series of dances to Latin and Latin-inspired music. The teacher will demonstrate a step, sometimes at half the normal speed to help beginners follow. The step is then repeated and combined with other steps. Although taking a cardio salsa class doesn't usually require any training, a basic understanding of Latin rhythms and basic dance moves will be a great boon to beginners.

Remember, it's more important to keep moving and have fun than it is to get everything exactly right. Mistakes are frequent and carry no shame; the point is to get a great workout, not win a dance competition. Many teachers use the same routine each class for several weeks, allowing beginners to get ample chances to nail the sequence of movements. If a step or move is truly elusive, ask the teacher or an advanced student for help after class.

Cardio salsa is often a popular class at gyms, dance studios, and other fitness facilities. To avoid packed classes, look for classes early in the morning or during the workday. Be prepared for a tough workout, a pounding heart, and a lot of fun. Cardio salsa is a great way to improve dance skills, increase flexibility, and get a great workout at the same time.


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