Losing weight can feel like an uphill battle, and you will see conflicting advice all over the place. Do keto, don’t eat after 8 pm, try meal replacement shakes, etc, etc. The reality of it is that weight loss is quite simple when you boil it down to its bare bones. All of the weight loss plans in the world work in exactly the same way – by reducing the number of calories that you eat and/or increasing the number of calories you use. And that’s all weight loss really is. Read on to find out how dancing can help you achieve your weight loss goals!
Calories: The Basics
A calorie is a unit of energy and the number of calories in food tells you how much energy it contains. If you take in more calories than you use, your body will store it as fat. And it is the fat that you really want to lose if you’re talking about weight loss.
Creating a calorie deficit
The only way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit. In other words, you need to take in fewer calories than you need. This forces your body to use the calories stored in your fat for your energy needs.
To lose weight safely, it is usually recommended to have a calorie deficit of 500. This means that you should eat 500 fewer calories than you need every day. The number of calories you need depends on a few different factors, such as your age, gender, body type, and how much activity you take part in.
Your body is constantly burning calories because energy is needed just to live (e.g. for digestion, breathing, cell growth). This is known as your resting metabolic rate. Any activity you take part in, beyond just sitting still, is known as your active energy.
Exercise and weight loss
Of course, one way to create a calorie deficit is to eat less food. But you can also create a calorie deficit by increasing your active energy and the calories your body needs. This is where exercise comes in.
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Aerobic means “with oxygen”, so aerobic exercises are those that make your breathing rate increase to pump blood and oxygen to your muscles. Your muscles need fuel to function, and oxygen is needed to break down the fats and carbohydrates in your food (or fat stores) into a form of fuel that your muscles can use.
The more aerobic exercise you take part in, the more fuel your body uses, and the more calories you burn. If your muscles can’t get enough energy from the food you have eaten that day, it will use the energy your body has stored as fat instead. Over time, these fat stores will get smaller and you will get thinner!
Types of aerobic exercise:
- HIIT training
Dancing is a great example of aerobic exercise because you are moving constantly, which keeps your heart and breathing rate up for long periods of time.
Strength and conditioning
Whenever you take part in strength and conditioning training, you do a little bit of damage to your muscles. Your body needs to use energy to repair this damage, which means it needs to burn calories. This is known as the “after-burn”. Your body will continue to burn calories to repair the damage for hours after you have finished training.
But wait, there’s more! Building muscles can also help you burn more calories in the long term. Every pound of muscle burns 3 times more calories than every pound of fat. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate, and the more calories you burn even when you’re sitting around watching TV.
Types of strength and conditioning training:
- weight lifting
- circuit training
- hill walking
- push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc
Again, dancing is a great example of strength and conditioning training. Anytime you leap, squat, lift, and lunge, you are building up your muscles’ strength. Often without even realizing it!
Why dancing is so good for weight loss
Most of the scientific and medical community agree that a mixture of aerobic exercise and strength training is the best combination for weight loss and health. When you dance, you are always doing both, which makes dance a perfect exercise to get you fitter, thinner, and healthier.
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