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Sports Med. 1989 Dec;8(6):335-45.

The physiological effects of aerobic dance. A review.

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Auburn University, Montgomery, Alabama.


Aerobic dance exercise is currently one of the most commonly practised adult fitness activities. The majority of the research pertaining to this form of exercise supports its application as a valid cardiovascular training alternative, especially for adult females if performed according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines. If, however, the participant is interested in modifying body composition, training frequency, duration, or efforts toward caloric restriction may need to be increased or altered beyond those employed in the aerobic dance training investigations. The amount of energy expended during a bout of aerobic dance can vary dramatically according to the intensity of the exercise. 'Low intensity' dance exercise is usually characterised by less large muscle activity and/or less lower extremity impact, and music of slower tempo. Dance exercise representative of this variety requires a cost of approximately 4 to 5 kcal/minute. Several trials, however, have shown that vigorous 'high intensity' aerobic dance which entails using the large muscle groups can require 10 to 11 kcal/minute. The associated training outcomes could be affected by such differences in dance exercise intensity and style.

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