Dance fitness classes step up the cardio fun

Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:29am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exercise loves company and adores rhythm, so why pound a treadmill when you can dance your cardio workout away?

Experts say dance-based workouts, from Zumba to Bollywood aerobics to flexes at the ballet barre, can take your fitness from grind to gladness, with an international flair.

"It's killing two birds with one stone," said instructor Rahul Nath, of the Bollywood-inflected aerobics class he developed and teaches at a 24 Hour Fitness center in California.

"You're learning the basics of a world dance while burning calories and building up the cardio," he said. "You come out of the class dripping with sweat, which is what everybody wants when they come to a gym."

The dance fitness class is not the dancer's dance class, according to Nath, a professional actor and dancer. He draws a careful distinction between the technique-based dance classes of performers and his fitness class, where the workout commands center stage.

"Fitness is the main key, to simplify the moves and get more aerobic elements in there" he said. "It's easy. To learn the art is another avenue."

A performance-based class could involve five or six moves in a 10-second routine, he said. But the fitness class repeats the same moves for up to 30 seconds.

"So people are comfortable in that move. Then I move on to another move within that format."   Continued...