By Brianna Heidenreich Unc Sophomore

  Besides being an amazing revitalizing workout, did you know that dancing makes you smarter and more confident as well?? In the words of Lady Gaga – “JUST DANCE.”

Here’s why.

Whether out with friends or in the gym, dancing promotes a social environment – and this socializing leads to high self esteem and positivity. Don’t forget, as all physical activity does, dancing reduces stress and tension.

While burning those calories you are improving your overall mindset. This strength in your health and fitness spills over in other aspects of your life, adding a bit of extra confidence in everything you do.

Dancing makes you smarter?

The essence of intelligence is making decisions. To improve your mental acuity, you must involve yourself in activities which require rapid-fire decision making – as opposed to your traditional expected routines. In dancing, (especially social dancing) your actions are made by making hundreds of split-second decisions as what to do next. Exercise also increases the level of brain chemicals that encourage nerve cells to grow.

While you may just be having fun with your friends, you are making yourself smarter for longer! Do it often!

Calorie burning?

Ever wonder what exactly these dance workouts can do for your body? “Dancing workouts will burn as many as, or more calories than, conventional workouts, with a number of additional benefits, physical and otherwise,” says Elizabeth Larkam, M.A., spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise.

“The social nature of dancing will keep you motivated, the music elevates your mood and engages your brain, and the intimacy of a partner’s touch adds an element of pleasure.” Dancing also improves your balance because you’re required to move in all directions through space: backward, forwards, sideways, turning.

How many calories do dancing workouts typically burn?
(Based on an hour-long workout for a 125-lb woman.)

Ballroom/social dance (waltz, foxtrot, country line dancing): 329 calories
Aerobic dance (Tango, jitterbug, paso-doble): 389 calories
(This dance style sculpts arms, waist, and thighs)
Vigorous aerobic dance (salsa, hip-hop, Zumba): 509 calories
(The lower-body movement sculpts hips, waist and legs.)
Here’s the comparison against typical workouts:
Moderate weight lifting: 180 calories
Stair climbing: 359 calories
Jumping rope: 539 calories
Rowing/kayaking: 329 calories
Cycling: 599 calories

Anyone can learn to dance. Research!! Find the type of dance that you enjoy. Your campus gym or a facility nearby is bound to offer a wide variety of different classes from hip-hop to salsa to zumba! Before you know it, you will see improvements in your flexibility, strength, endurance, and confidence. If you stay committed you will definitely see results within at least 3 months as your body becomes toned.

Or take advantage of the night and go dancing with your girlfriends. Or who knows, maybe you will inspire a new romance with that cutie on the dance floor? Go out, be fearless, relax, smile and have fun with it.



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