It's important to get the recommended amount of cardio exercise per week, which is about 2 1/2 hours per week of moderate exercise or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise. This exercise has a number of health benefits, including decreasing the risk for obesity, certain types of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure or cholesterol, diabetes, and depression. Keeping active by dancing or running can even help make it less likely that a person will develop Alzheimer's disease. While running can be a good way to get this exercise, for some people taking dance classes may be a better alternative.
Exactly how many calories a person will burn in half an hour or running or dancing will depend on their weight and the type of dancing they choose or how fast they run. For example, a 125-pound person burns about 240 calories running at 5 miles per hour for 30 minutes, while a 155-pound person would burn 298 calories during that same time frame. Some types of dancing are more strenuous than others, so a 155-pound person doing the waltz for 30 minutes might burn just 112 calories, but if that same person chose to take dance lessons in square dancing, they would burn about 205 calories in 30 minutes. More strenuous dance classes can even beat running in some cases when it comes to calories burned. A study found that taking swing dance classes helped study participants burn up to 293 calories in just 30 minutes, which was more than the 264 calories they burned running for 30 minutes.
People often find dancing to be fun, making it more likely they'll keep attending dance studios in the winter and when they're a bit tired. Bad weather and other excuses make it somewhat more likely that people may skip a running workout, unless they're among the few people who really love the sport. While a treadmill workout is a possibility, lots of people find it more enjoyable to run outside. With dancing, it's easy to do inside, whether at a dance school or at home, making it harder to make excuses to skip a workout. There's also more variety, as it's possible to take dance lessons in a variety of different dance styles, from latin to ballroom to hip hop or ballet.
Both dancing and running can involve a risk of injury, as with any type of physical activity. Some people suggest that dancing may be less likely to lead to injury because it isn't as high impact as running, but this depends on the type of dance. For example, the leaps in ballet are actually higher-impact than running. Whichever sport you choose, take steps to limit injuries, such as wearing the proper footwear, not exercising when very fatigued, maintaining proper form, warming up and cooling down, and not overtraining.
For more information, contact a local dance studio that offers dance lessons.