5, 6, 7, 8… if an 8-count ignites a wave of anxiety, don’t worry, you’re not alone. 

Attending a dance class of any kind can be intimidating at first. Standing in front of the mirror following choreography is a skill that takes time to learn and love. But, once you embrace that feeling of dancing in your bedroom like no one is watching, you’ll find the same joy in a class setting. 

Dance cardio is a hybrid of dance choreography and cardio exercises set to music, creating a heart-pumping workout to keep your body in constant motion. It’s the type of exercise that feels more like a party than anything else. Don’t be fooled though: this is a body-burning experience

Ready to jump in? Nervous about your first class? Hear from two Zumba instructors from the YMCA of Metro Atlanta on why dance cardio fuels your mind, body, and mood. 

Shaking it out = breaking a sweat 💦

A total body workout is like a one-stop-shop for fitness. And dance cardio works every single muscle in the body. 

Like walking, running, or cycling, dance cardio is an aerobic form of exercise. It improves your cardiovascular health, strengths your lungs, and benefits your circulatory system. Just to name a few. 

According to Healthline, dancing also increases stamina, strengthens your immune system, improves blood flow, creates a better sense of balance, and reduces the risk for chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes

Alethia Tukes, a Zumba instructor at the Andrew & Walter Young Family weighs in: 

“The physical benefits of dance cardio are an improved cardiovascular system, flexibility, strength, increased energy, memorization, and weight loss.” 

Like we mentioned above, by moving nonstop (and we mean nonstop), your heart rate stays up, strengthening your cardiovascular system over time: 

A strong heart with a strong rhythm equals life,” says fellow instructor Sandra Fletcher. 

More endorphins, please 🙋‍♀️

Need a few more reasons to get moving? Studies have shown that exercise like dance improves areas of the brain that control memory and organization skills. Perhaps even more impressive, dancing can boost your ability to think as you age. Sort of like an anti-aging serum, for your brain. 

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Quite literally “dancing it out” has numerous health benefits. Like other forms of cardio, dancing creates endorphins to improve your mood, reduce stress, and lessen anxious feelings. 

 “It makes people feel confident, willing to take a risk, relieves stress, and depression. And for most it’s a social activity,” agrees Tukes. 

So, let’s talk about that last point. Finding a go-to class or teacher at a place like YMCA can create a sense of camaraderie that uplifts and inspires you.

 Jumping, turning, and stretching to fiery music, whether it’s with strangers or with your best friends, builds a sense of connection ignited by a shared love of music and movement. 

When you sign up for a Gympass membership, you can find your feel-good community to cheer you on as you embark on your wellbeing journey. 

The hardest part is showing up ❤️

Trying anything new can be nerve-racking at first. But, there is also a thrill that comes with taking that first step. View it as an opportunity to surprise yourself, see where your mind and body can take you, and learn something about yourself in the process. Who knows? You may just find a new hobby to love. 

Showing up will build your confidence so you can enter any room, inside and outside of the gym, with your shoulders back and your head high. 

Fletcher says:

“My advice regarding the feeling of intimidation is this, once you are motivated and determined to attend a session, be consistent. Consistency is the key that promotes confidence and unlocks the feeling of intimidation.”

If you’re feeling unsure, bring a workout buddy to the class. Having this friend, family member, or co-worker by your side may make you feel more comfortable. Plus, you’ll have someone to hold you accountable on your fitness journey. 

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Lastly, just remember: everyone who starts something for the first time is a beginner. Don’t compare yourself to the person next to you in class, just focus on yourself. The more dance cardio classes you attend, the better you’ll get! Take it from Tukes: 

“The advice I have for someone intimidated by dance cardio, we all had to start somewhere, & there are NO wrong steps in my class. Dancing is all levels, try it! I will also advise them to observe the class. Once they set foot in the studio social anxiety tends to leave just the hearing of great music. Music is a universal language, in-between the floor and the ceiling is the music of our souls dancing, grooving, moving to our joy in our happy place!”