Latin dancing is one of the hottest styles of dance at the moment and there are many benefits to doing Latin dances such as: better balance, improved memory (from remembering steps), easy way to meet people, less stress, great for exercise and many others.
Today I’ll be diving into one of the biggest benefits to doing Latin dancing which is what a great exercise it is and the 5 Latin dances you should learn to start getting in shape quickly.
While on the surface it may look like you’re just learning steps, leading and following and trying to get your timing, in actuality during all of that time you’re also burning a lot of calories and toning your body.
Before I reveal the 5 Latin dances that will get you in great shape let’s discuss why Latin dancing is such a great way of exercising:
Reason #1: You’re constantly moving
In many dance classes and social Latin clubs, once you start moving, you ain’t stopping! Latin dance songs are typically 3-5 minutes long, so imagine stepping, turning, flicking for an entire 5 minutes straight…. But it’s not over. After one song finishes, you switch partners and start dancing with the next person for another 3-5 minutes, and on and on it goes.
Reason #2: You forget you are even exercising
Because you’re actually learning how to dance, half of the time you forget that you’re even exercising in the first place. This is great because while you’re focusing on getting the steps right and other dance techniques, you’re moving, sweating and toning your body.
Reason #3: You’re getting a full body workout
Latin dancing involves the entire body. The legs and feet are using strong pressure into the floor when shifting weight. The hips and butt muscles are engaged to accentuate the “Cuban motion” and Latin style. The core must be tucked in so that you can maintain your balance and connection with your partner. The arms are held upright in a frame which work the arms and back muscles. Lastly, in movements where your arms are free, you’ll do “arm styling” which also tones the arm muscles.
There are many other reasons but these are the main ones.
Let’s move on to the 5 Latin dances that make for a great exercise.
Salsa is probably one of the most famous Latin dances right now and it is danced all over the world. Salsa music tends to be really fast so it will raise your heart rate really fast and make for a great cardio workout. Also, Salsa incorporates many turns which challenges the core muscles and leg muscles. Check out this guide on salsa basic steps.
Merengue is one of the easiest Latin dances, and that is why it’s danced all over Latin clubs today. The simple basic steps of “switching weight from foot to foot” makes Merengue very accessible to most beginner dancers. This dance makes for a great workout because as you change weight from foot to foot you’re using you foot and leg pressure together with hip action to get a great lower body exercise.
#3: Cha Cha
Cha Cha is one of the Fastest Latin dances in this bunch, and it’s triple step shuffle from side to side is one of the reasons it makes for a killer exercise. This dance uses small, compact steps that have fast direction changes – This in turn challenges your feet, core and hips. Also, because this dance is so fast you will be working on keeping your upper body still with small, stabilizing muscles around your shoulders, back and core.
Bachata has become very popular recently thanks to popular Latin music from artists like Prince Royce and others. The Bachata tends to have a medium tempo (not too fast) which allows for bigger body movements. You will need to push off your legs as you step from side to side, as well as you’ll have time to isolate your ribcage and hips to fill out the music more. You’ll get a great leg, butt and core workout from this Latin dance. Check out this Guide on how to dance Bachata
#5: Argentine Tango
The Argentine Tango is one of the most popular styles of Tango today and has a variety of movements and step patterns that make it great for exercising. This dance has a very strong walking action where both partners push off the floor with their feet in order to make a walk forward, back or sideways. This dance is often danced in a “closed hold”, as compared to others mentioned in this list. This means that besides getting a lower body work out, you will also tone your arms and back muscles from the push/pull connections with your partner.
There are many other Latin dances that are great for exercise, but these 5 are a great start.
If you’re looking to learn how to dance fast you can try your local dance studio, a dance club, or an online dance website.
About the Author
Leon Turetsky is a professional Latin and Ballroom dance instructor and owns the brand: Passion4dancing – where he teaches people how to dance online.
Do you do love Latin dancing or have you wanted to learn some of them?
Which Latin dances do you like to do?
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