My name is Randi Liberman and I’ve been dancing for as far back as I can remember. From putting moves together in my living room as a kid in my hometown of Montreal, Canada to performing on some of the biggest stages around the world as a touring dancer now living in Los Angeles - dancing has always been a part of who I am. Not only is it my passion and way of expressing myself in art form, but it is my absolute favorite way to stay fit and remain in my best physical shape! In pursuing my career in dance, and now being in my thirties, I see how important it is to take care of my body and keep my health a priority. As a professional, it is important that I keep my stamina high, my cardio strong, and my physical strength at its best. I’ve found a love for fitness and nutrition along my journey and no matter what workout regime I follow, having dance incorporated always keeps me feeling my absolute best. As a dance teacher as well for almost 20 years now, I absolutely love teaching dancers of all ages and levels, and seeing them enjoy themselves in my class, sweat through their clothes and tell me they're “so sore” the next day, is such a joy! And that’s the beauty of it - you do not need to be a trained pro to get your sweat on by dancing, for it really is meant for everyone! This is exactly what has led me to write this blog, and share with you my top 10 reasons why I believe dance is the best workout around!! I’m here to show you that whether you’ve never set foot into a dance class, or you’re the experienced pro, you will see why dance is soon to become your new favorite workout routine, if it isn’t already!
Now you might be asking yourself, “Well I’ve never taken a dance class before, so if I don’t even know how to move - how will I ever get a good workout?” Now here’s the thing many ‘non dancers’ find themselves asking, without realizing that you just need to find the class that’s right for you. From stretch & strengthening, aerobics based, intricate choreography focused, to technique classes in many styles, all you need to do is choose your preference and enroll in your level.
Here are my 10 reasons why I believe dance is the best workout of them all.
1. Dance is Fun!
Let’s start with the obvious, dance is fun! Many of us (Including myself) have struggled in our fitness journeys because working out is hard, and let’s face it we just don’t always feel motivated to get up and run around the track or lift those weights that have been sitting under our bed for months. But picture your favorite night at the club, one of those great basement parties, or your uncle’s soulful summer bbqs where you’re having the time of your life grooving to your favorite tunes with friends and family. You were probably having so much fun that you didn’t even realize you just burned hundreds of calories while at your favorite festivity. According to a report from the university of Brighton in the UK, Dance allows you to burn over 300 calories per 30 minutes, and that's more than you’ll burn going for a run or a swim. It has been proven that even low intensity level dancing burns more calories than cycling!
2. No Equipment Required
Now here’s another no brainer - dance requires no equipment to get a great workout. All you need is yourself and your fave workout gear, and you’re ready to get fit! You don’t need to carry around heavy weights, a bagillion pound rope or a weighted medicine ball to get it in. This also means you can achieve your workout from anywhere - take your favorite teacher’s class with friends or simply follow along virtually while travelling for work. It really is one of the most convenient ways to move your body and stay in shape.
3. The All Encompassing Workout
The crazy thing about dance is that no matter how many years I’ve personally been in intense training sessions, I will be sore in new places after almost every class! Dance is what I call the all encompassing workout because it uses every single muscle in your body, even the ones you didn't know were there. Dance literally works every muscle group, as you cannot get through without engaging your core, bending deep into your legs, or powering up your arm muscles. Dance unlike other forms of exercise uses constant start and stop motions in all directions, therefore using the full body and expending high amounts of energy at all times. Trust me when I say no matter the dance class, every muscle group will fire!
4. Learn a New Skill
So why not get your sweat on while also learning a new skill or brushing off the dust on those high school moves?! Here you can work your muscles next to your best friends to your favorite tunes, while also prepping your fave party moves for next Saturday night. Impress your peers with your new moves or even show em off on Tik Tok to the latest dance craze! And I'm sure you can use your imagination for why your partner will probably enjoy those new moves of yours as well ;). It’s really a win win if you ask me!
5. Train Your Brain & Body
Not only do you walk away from a dance class with some new skills intact, but you’re also training your brain and body to better its balance, hand-eye coordination, muscle memory and more. A Stanford study showed that dancing integrates many brain functions at once; kinesthetic, rational, musical and emotional, which proves to create new neural pathways therefore leading to increased overall intelligence at all ages and specifically showing decreases in dementia and Alzeimer's among senior citizens. Dancing, and doing it often can lead to increased cognitive ability especially as these functions are known to diminish with age. You will even start to notice immediate effects such as better multi-tasking, problem solving, and simply being quicker on your feet.
6. Better Understand Your Body
Another bonus from using dance as your workout of choice, is gaining a better understanding of your body. As we know, body language is one of the main ways we are able to read each other and better communicate. By understanding our bodies, and becoming more in tune with our own movement, we can express ourselves more freely to others and even gain more overall confidence allowing us to carry ourselves in a whole new way. Some therapists even prescribe dance as a way to ease social anxiety, as once you are comfortable boogying down in front of strangers, you will probably feel more at ease speaking in front of larger crowds.
As I’m sure most of us can agree, working out without music is the worst! I’m always sure to grab my ipod and headphones before my run, or blast some 90s hip hop when I’m about to lift some weights. Music is a universal language that we all have a part of our life in our own personal ways, and the beauty of dance is that it is derived from the music it is danced to. From classical music, to rock music to the sounds of nature - everything and anything can be danced to. This is the beauty of using dance as your fitness choice, and only adds to the fun and enjoyment of your usual ‘dreaded workout’. So whether you jump into a Zumba class based on latin music, or a cardio fitness class playing your favorite pop tracks, you are bound to feel connected and therefore motivated to push through even the toughest of moves.
8. Time Passes So Quickly
This last point also helps bring our next one into fruition, which is that time passes so quickly in a dance class, you almost forget you’re strengthening those muscles, burning tons of calories, and working on your cardio level! Jamming along to your favorite tunes will make you feel like the class flew by, and whether or not your taking a fitness based class or a technique/choreography class, the fast paced movement and constant change of exercise will keep your mind distracted from even thinking about checking the clock!
9. Relieves Stress
Not only will the class fly by, but it will relieve that stress you might have walked in the room with and leave you in a more positive mood. A 2007 study found that Hip Hop dance, very similarly to aerobics classes, would increase energy and mood, while decreasing stress and fatigue - as compared to other workout activities such as conditioning or even ice skating which showed much lower positive correlation. Burning calories AND getting a therapeutic release…I’m in!
10. Comes in All Shapes & Sizes
The wonderful thing about dance is that it comes in all shapes and sizes and can fit everyone in it’s own beautiful way - kind of like the sisterhood of the travelling pants if you remember that adorable book/movie. Contrary to popular belief you do not need to be a pro to take a choreography or technique class and you do not need to be a beginner to enjoy an aerobics or fitness style class. All you need to do is decide what type of class your heart desires, find the appropriate level and then dive right in! People often hear “dance class” and automatically assume you need prior skills to attend… but that's the point of a class is it not? To learn, to grow, and as we now know to get your sweat on, and ultimately become the best version of yourself.
No matter what your fitness journey looks like, I personally guarantee that by implementing some form of dance workout into your weekly routine, you will begin feeling rejuvenated and motivated to reach those fit goals of yours. One of the great things about life is that we have the ability to continue learning and improving, and sometimes that means trying something new or changing up an existing practice. So if you’re already an experienced dancer or brand new to the genre, check out a dance fitness option today, and I promise you will not regret it - you might even be sending me a thank you gift in the near future ;).