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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.