Tone Your Body With 6 Types of Dance

Dance-based workouts can provide everything your body needs to get toned, fit, and in-shape. Plus, they're fun, inspiring, and they're great places to meet new people.

Here are six kinds of dance that will keep you on your toes:

  1. Belly dancing is a centuries-old dance tradition that grew from many different middle-eastern cultures. Some say belly dancing was created by women, for women, and even used to facilitate childbirth. Others say it was created as a way to entertain dignitaries and royalty. Today, belly dancing is a gentle, low impact form of dance and exercise that emphasizes the use of abdominal, leg, hip, chest, arm, and back muscles. Dancing nonstop for an hour burns on average 300 calories. How do you learn the moves? Classes are available all over the world and on DVD.
  2. Pole dancing is a popular, challenging, and an entirely different way to get a total body workout that includes stretching, strengthening, abdominal, and cardio exercises. Music and synchronized breathing turn it into an athletic mind-body experience. Dancers use the pole for support and as a prop while they dance, squat, lunge, climb, straddle, and spin. In addition to providing all the exercise you need, pole dancing encourages women to explore their sensual side. Classes are available for women only or mixed groups at gyms and dance studios, by private lesson, and on DVD.
  3. Ballet is a strenuous workout that can be gentle enough for anyone. Barre and floor work emphasize stretching, strengthening, and toning while frequent position changes add a cardiac workout. Ballet builds strong leg, core, butt, and arm strength along with balance and flexibility. You'll learn classic ballet techniques through moves like plie, releve, and passé, which combine balance-work with gentle squats to firm the thighs and lifts that work the calves with other leg and abdominal moves. Ballet and barre classes are available at dance studios all over the world and ballet-workouts are available online and by DVD.
  4. Hip-hop dance provides a super-fun, high-energy workout choreographed to the latest music. You'll burn between 300 and 500 calories per hour while working your arms, legs, back, and abdominal muscles. It's a dynamic workout that increases core strength, tones muscles, and develops coordination. Plus, it's as fun as going to the club or partying at your friend's place. Hip-hop classes are available at gyms, dance studios, and on DVD.
  5. Ballroom dance has become increasingly popular ever since Dancing with the Stars made old-style dancing new again. Foxtrot, samba, salsa, waltz, and cha-cha provide a total body, calorie-blasting workout that's good for the mind and body. You'll stay mentally sharp remembering the footwork and you'll push every muscle in your body to stay strong and flexible to create fluid movements. Since it's done with a partner, you'll improve your social life while becoming fit. Classes are available at dance studios, community colleges, and community centers all over the world.
  6. Freestyle, old-fashioned rock and roll, boogie fever—call it whatever you want. If you don't feel like hitting the studio, club or gym, but you still want to kick up your heels, just dance in your living room. Put on your favorite music, roll back the rug, and go for it. As long as you're moving, using your arms and legs, back and abs, it doesn't matter how good you are or if you keep to the beat. Just move and enjoy dancing!