I talk a lot about the benefits of strength training, but cardiovascular exercise is pretty important too. It won’t give you the definition and “tone” that lifting will, but it will do heaps for your insides… especially your heart. Regular aerobic exercises has been proven to help improve cholesterol levels, boost your immune system, and maybe even help you be less cranky!
So, if aerobic exercise is so great, how come most people don’t do it regularly? Well, because a lot of cardio sucks. It’s hard and time-consuming, and there’s nothing more boring/monotonous as running on a treadmill.
A great way to get-in a cardio workout that’s fun and doesn’t feel like work is playing a sport. But if you’re an uncoordinated introvert like myself, team sports may not feel any less torturous than grinding away on an elliptical. But there is one form of cardio that’s not monotonous, requires no equipment, and you can do completely solo:
While I do actually enjoy running, dancing is my cardio of choice…even though I am a bad dancer. I’m comfortable admitting I have zero sense of rhythm. When I use to do Zumba classes at the YMCA, I was always the one going to the opposite direction of the rest of the group. I’m that person stepping on other people’s toes during the electric slide at wedding receptions. Think Elaine Benes. I’m that bad.
But do you know the great thing about dancing for exercise? IT’S DOESN’T MATTER HOW BAD YOU ARE. You’re not dancing to perform for others, you are dancing just to work up a sweat. And while I might be horribly uncoordinated, I am really good at getting sweaty. Plus, there’s something really freeing about dancing around your place like a complete lunatic and not giving a shit.
To get in a good dance workout, you could put on your favorite Spotify playlist, set a timer for 30-60 minutes, and just have at it. However, if you need a little inspiration and guidance, there are some great YouTube channels out there. Below are my favorite YouTube channels that provide free dance workouts:
The Fitness Marshall
These videos are fun. The Fitness Marshall has a sense of humor and makes you feel like you’re dancing with one of your friends. He also creates a weekly workout playlist of his videos so you don’t have to make your own playlist. He does the occasional product promotions at the beginning of his videos, but it’s always really short, so it doesn’t bother me.
Dance with Jessica
Dance with Jessica videos feel a bit more like a traditional workout to me. She incorporates more squats and core movements into her dances. It reminds me more of Zumba classes I’ve taken in the past. I really like the fact that Dance with Jessica has playlists based on level, so you can play songs that appropriate for your fitness (or coordination) level.
The video quality for Club Fitz videos isn’t as good as The Fitness Marshall or Dance with Jessica, but it’s still a great channel. They also have several playlists that you can select from to run through a full 60 minute workout.
Go forth and shake yo’ booty (for free)!