Fun Fitness

February 24, 2014 2:49 pm
Updated: February 24, 2014 4:52 pm

Fun fitness: Hitting the dance floor a great calorie burn

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Sure, you started that New Year’s resolution to lose weight with good intentions, but now that we’re a month into 2014 it’s easy to fall off the workout wagon. That’s why it’s important to choose activities that make you actually want to exercise—even in the depths of winter.

In this special series, Global News looks at some of the fun fitness offerings that promise to tone you up—no treadmill required.

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It’s safe to say most of us have dreamed about pulling off a Flashdance-worthy routine, or wish we could channel Beyonce’s moxie when hitting the dance floor. In reality, most people either have two left feet or no sense of rhythm, meaning the idea of showing off your moves in public is about as fun as going to the dentist.

Fortunately, there are a number of dance classes offered around the country that cater to all skill levels—with no judgment. Not only can you finally figure out how to master the two-step or samba, but they also offer a killer cardio workout.

“You don’t necessarily need to know anything really, you just have fun,” says Natalie Hagel, who has been teaching the SH’BAM dance class at GoodLife Fitness for the past couple of years. “You don’t feel like you’re working out at all. You just sing along and you dance…it’s just a party and that’s it.”

SH’BAM classes feature a dozen different tracks with their very own choreography routines, which the instructor demonstrates at the front.

“Since the moves aren’t complicated and you’re able to do it over and over again, you’re able to intensify each movement,” Hagel explains, comparing it to dancing in your living room.

“People like it because they say it’s not complicated, and they can just come in and do whatever [they feel like], and that’s what it’s supposed to be.

“It’s just a fun dance class.”

While SH’BAM has routines from just about every genre (think mambo, hip-hop and jazz), dance studios offer a chance to try out specific classes like house, tap, modern and ballet–even belly dancing or Bollywood. Zumba is another popular choice, which is a Latin inspired dance program.

The best part is absolutely no experience is required, and it’s a fun way to burn calories.

“It’s definitely cardio, it gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing, and those happy endorphins,” Hagel says. “That’s the most important thing, actually, those endorphins that just make you feel happy. That’s the best benefit of working out.”

She adds that the social aspect of classes is what keeps people coming back.

“It’s easier to come and work out when you have a group to do it with. There are some ladies who come with their friends and it’s kind of like an outing, so it’s not like they’re working out—it’s like they’re going for coffee.

“I think if people come with that mindset that it’s not a workout, it’s their way of life now, I think that’s what gets people to come and stay. If you find something you love, you will just come.”

NEED TO KNOW

Duration: 45 minutes

Main body parts worked: Cardio based, but certain routines target legs

What to wear: Workout clothes and dance or running shoes.

Calories burned: 510 in 50 minutes

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