DanceXercise is a type of aerobic exercise in the form of dancing,
either ballroom dancing or regular bodily movement executed to the
tune of music, for cardiovascular fitness and mental health. DanceXercise,
in all its form, has been popularized in the late sixties. It has
gained wide acceptance, even in the medical community, when subsequent
scientific data confirmed its beneficial effects on overall cardiovascular
and general body fitness.
DanceXericise good for everyone?
For the majority of people who love to dance, especially during
the holiday season, this is one of the best exercises for cardiovascular
fitness. Only those with medical or physical impairment that disable
them to dance will not benefit from it. While walking on the treadmill
or doing rowing exercises makes one feel he/she is engaging in a
boring “forced labor,” dancing provides the exercise
with much more fun and social enjoyment that one even loses, not
only calories, but track of time. Without being flippant, sometimes
ballroom dancing could even be better for our body than sex. But
should not indulge in dancing exercises?
Anyone with physical disability or medical condition (heart disease,
untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure, severe emphysema,
dizziness, etc) that would make one severely short of breath, and/
or have chest pains, or simply feeling not well, after a couple
of minutes of physical activities, should not indulge in dancing
exercises and other strenuous activities. The most prudent to do,
if you have an illness or if have any doubt, is to have a good medical
checkup and clearance by your physician before going ballroom dancing.
DanceXercise cause injuries?
Obviously, yes, like any other physical activities that tax our
feet, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles and nerves.
However, with an intelligent and a common sense approach to exercise,
one can prevent or minimize unnecessary injuries that sometimes
happen. The more conditioned one is, the less prone to injuries
the person becomes, and the more enjoyment he/she derives from ballroom
there been deaths from dancing?
Yes, I was a witness to one myself at a dinner-dance at the Chicago
Hilton a few years ago. These incidents are rare but they do happen.
Most of those victims would have died from any other form of strenuous
physical activity, like heavy lifting, sex, climbing long flights
of stairs, etc., or even after eating a heavy meal. These people
are usually 50 years or older, with undetected heart disease, or
with previous neglected chest pains, and are thus prone to succumb
to a heart attack. We really ought to listen more to what our body
tells us and heed its message no matter how subtle it may be.
about deaths among the younger people?
Occasionally, we hear of sudden deaths in persons younger than 50,
even among teenagers, following sports or other rigorous physical
activities. These are usually due to cardiac arrythmias, where the
heart suddenly develops a fatal irregularity and cardiac arrest
follows. Many of these do not even show any evident pathology (abnormality)
causes these sudden deaths in the young?
Sudden deaths in the young, who were “otherwise healthy”,
and where autopsies did not how any pathology, could have been due
to electrolyte imbalance, low potassium and/or sodium level (like
those on extreme dieting regimen), dehydration, effects of caffeine
(coffee, chocoloate, cola drinks), diet pills or illegal drugs,
or undiagnosed heart disease. Fatal arrythmias could be induced
by any of these.
much calories does one lose doing DanceXercise?
Energy dissipated or calories lost during any physical activity
is a function of time, how much one weighs, how vigorous one performs
the activity, and the environmental temperature. Medical research
shows that, on the average situations, one loses about 200 calories
doing fast dancing (for instance the Swing or Boogie) nonstop for
30 minutes. Medium aerobics for half an hour burn about 197.4 calories.
Walking (4 mph) for half an hour consumes about 155 calories. Foreplay
in sex for 15 minutes, burns about 22.5 calories and actual sexual
intercourse for 15 minutes, 67.5 calories (a total of 90 calories
for the entire activity). And one feels thousands of calories are
burned following 30 minutes of sex!
ballroom dancing better than jogging?
Yes, most definitely. In the 60s and early 80s, the experts recommended
jogging as “the best exercise for cardiovascular fitness.”
Following enough experience in this form of activity, which showed
attendant injuries to bones, joints, etc. in the feet, legs and
hips and spine, the experts changed to a new recommendation: ambulation,
the simple, unadulterated old-fashioned exercise, walking, the benefits
of which were well known to our parents, grand parents and even
to our great grandparents. Common sense dictates this, and yet we
had to go through extensive medical studies to find out and convince
ourselves about something that was obvious. Jogging (5.5 mph) for
30 minutes burns 294 calories.
is jogging now condemned?
No, it is not. Those athletic type persons can still benefit from,
and enjoy, jogging, because their body is conditioned to take the
insults of jogging. But for the majority of us, slow walking to
fast walking, and/or ballroom dancing to slow music to a fast tempo,
depending on each individual tolerance and capability, is the recommended
exercise. One gets the same cardiovascular (fitness) benefit from
regular (at least 3 times a week) walking and/or ballroom dancing,
with less injuries, and with the added extra bonus of better mental
and social health. It will also be cheaper in the end, sans extra
expenses for medical care for
the potential jogging injuries.
there an age limit for people to do DanceXercise? ***
No. The oldest couple I know are 76 and 78 years old, on whom I
had implanted a pacemaker on the wife and did coronary bypass on
the husband, about ten years earlier. They are still actively doing
ballroom dancing, using it as “our cardiac rehabilitation
exercise.” Age is, indeed, a matter of mind and not of time.
Philip S. Chua, M.D., is Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus of Northwest Indiana
and currently the Chairman of Cardiovascular Surgery of the Cebu
Cardiovascular Center at Cebu Doctors’ Hospital, Cebu City,
Philippines. He is also Vice-President for Far East Operations of
the Cardiovascular Hospitals of America of Wichita, Kansas, a builder
of heart centers in the United States and in the Far East. His email
address is email@example.com