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Group Fitness Dance Routines for Fitness and Weight Loss

written by: Caramel • edited by: Angela Atkinson • updated: 3/15/2011

Learn the many benefits of group dance fitness routines such as improved health, flexibility and weight loss.

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    Overview

    Incorporating a group fitness dance routine as part of a regular schedule is a great way to get fit and have fun with others. Unlike other forms of exercise, group fitness dancing can allow you to loose yourself in the beat and rhythm of the music which can serve to help you dance a little longer and burn additional calories. You can burn up to 400 calories and hour through dancing. People of every level of physical experience, energy level and age can participate in group dance, which also serves as a great source for accountability.

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    Types of Group Dance Routines

    Belly Dancing

    This form of dance usually involves isolating different sections of the body such as the stomach, chest, shoulders and hips. The focus in belly dancing is the utilization of the core muscles rather than the body’s external muscles. In most styles, the emphasis is on the pelvic and hip area and includes many key elements:

    • Shimmy or Shiver-This is a hip shimmering vibration. Other movements usually layer the vibration. It is typically created by thigh or glutes contraction or by moving the knees in a position past each other at high rates of speed. You can also perform belling dancing by using the lower back muscles. This move can be performed in different directions as you can create the vibration by moving he hips in a back and forward swinging motion, side to side and up and down.
    • Hip Hits-This move involves the hips being moved out from the body and is known as a staccato movement. This can also be performs using the chest or shoulders. This move is typically represented by a quick shifting of body weight for one leg to the next and creates the look of a swinging pelvis.
    • Undulations-This move includes movements of the torso, chest or hips in a rotation or circular manner. It usually calls for the rotating movements of the chest area down and back, up, and forward to create the look of riding on a camel.

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    Weight Loss Through Group Dance RoutinesGet helpful information about the benefits of group dance routines with information on some popular styles of group dance today such as Salsa, and belly dancing.
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    Salsa

    • This dance routine usually incorporates just a few basic steps. The three steps (or weight changes) are the most common within each 4-beat measure. The beat on which an individual does not step can contain a kick or tap, or there may be a continuance of weight transfer with the actual step not happening until another beat. The option that is selected usually depends on an individual's choice and on the style. There is one step known as “break” which calls for directions to be changed.
    • With many styles, the upper body stays level and unaffected as the dancer shifts their weight. The hips are in the middle because they move a lot, which is why this type is of movement is called the Cuban hip movement. This salsa style incorporates a great amount of movement in the waist area with the shoulders moving up and down and the ribcage shifting. The lead dancer is led by the arms in order to signal or communicate to the follower in a closed or open position.

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    Benefits of Dancing

    Dancing is a perfect way to get fit and have fun. Dancing provides individuals with benefits such as improving heart health, burning additional calories and improving flexibility and muscle strength.

    • Improving Muscle Strength-Dance improves endurance and it strengthens the muscles. Individuals who dance often utilize movements such as twisting, bending, lunges, leaps, lifting arms in the air and the lifting of legs, which all serve to build and improve muscle strength. Endurance is improved because the body is challenged and through time individuals are able to perform for longer periods of time.
    • Improving Flexibility-Dance improves levels of flexibility. When the body’s flexibility is improved muscles become more supple. This can help to prevent injuries and improve the muscle support of the joints and bones.
    • Provides Aerobic Benefits-Dancing can help improve overall fitness, burn calories and improve heart health. Aerobic activities such as walking, swimming or running are similar to dancing in that they all strengthen the lungs. Dance is great for weight loss and you also get the added bonus of burning calories at rest. Aerobics is also beneficial in that it is a great way to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. For those interested in building muscle at any age visit http://www.brighthub.com/health/fitness/articles/101964.aspx

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    Conclusion

    Participating in a group fitness dance routine is a great way to get fit but it is also motivational in that you’re having so much fun with others, you tend to want to stick with it. You can establish your own group dance sessions or check your local listing for places that provide group dance fitness sessions.