Dance is the best exercise to lose weight

It’s proven that dancing can be one of the most exhilarating and effective ways to gain fitness and lose weight.

As highly experienced dancers here at Karen Hardy Studios you can take our word for it, but you don’t have to.

Celebrity dance weight loss

Over the years a whole host of celebs have spilled the beans on how many stones they have shed and dress sizes they have dropped through taking part in Strictly Come Dancing.

We kid you not, the lovely Lisa Riley, who put in an inspiring performance on the BBC show in 2012, slid from dress size 26 to 18 because of her time on the dancefloor.

And TV star Susanna Reid saw more than half a stone drop off after she waltzed her way to the runner up spot in the last series, while even super-slim Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh revealed she’d lost 7cm on her hips.

For the chaps, celebrity chef James Martin gave away one-and-a-half stone, former cricketer Darren Gough 11lbs and even super fit former athlete Colin Jackson lost 2lbs during his stint beneath the glitter ball.

And did you know? While dancing a quick-footed Latin routine you can burn around 300 calories an hour (depending on your weight) while working all of your major muscle groups!

So, if you are trying to fulfil a New Year’s resolution or prepare for summer by losing weight, Karen has come up with five little dance moves which could you see the pounds plummet.

And, what’s more if you are looking to get even more into Latin and Ballroom you could even come and join one of our dance classes to really up the fitness levels. Why not try one of our tasters and see how much fun you can have!

The best dances for losing weight

Strictly Come Dancing champion and studio owner Karen Hardy shares with you her top tips right here.

Cha Cha Cha (burn 264-528 calories per hour, depending upon your weight)

‘The Time Step’ – Just five little steps but excellent enough to work those thighs and buttocks. Here it is broken down:

1. “The first two steps are step step movements on the spot like riding a bike, with a really nice hip action so you’re getting a full workout along the thighs and up round the back of the buttocks. Keep the torso tall at all times, lengthening right through to your neck.

2. “The second 3 little steps are “The Cha-cha-cha steps” which is a sideways movement, so combining that with the first part you have a nice rhythmic step and the basics of a really great and simple fitness workout which can quite simply be repeated one after another for as long as your song in the back ground is playing away.”

Samba (burn 288-576 calories per hour, depending upon your weight)

“In Brazil there are some really great steps that involve our abdominal muscles. The Samba is all about the bounce action. The knees bend and the pelvis moves forward and the centre pulls in, so you get a lovely contraction in the tummy. The reason this is a great workout is that you have to keep that movement going while you also do the Samba steps.

“There are three simple steps you can do whilst keeping that pelvic floor under control. Firstly step to the side, bending your knees and squeezing your abdominals, then on step 2 cross behind with the other foot releasing the pelvis then on step 3 bend back down in place on to the first foot you started with and once again squeeze that pelvis under. In short… side, behind, replace then repeat the other way on the other foot! If you do it correctly the centre should go in twice. If you want to take the step further, you can rotate your arms as well whilst holding a bag of sugar in each hand and why not pop on a great three minute long pop song to get you in the mood.”

Rumba (burn 264-528 calories per hour, depending upon your weight)

“One of the steps in the Rumba is La Cucaracha which means to stamp on a cockroach. To do this step you step to the side and grind your foot into the ground. Imagine that under your foot you have got a cockroach. You press into it, then transfer your weight across to the other foot to do the very same thing, catching the other slippery little sucker! Known as pressure steps you then release on the third step and bring your feet together, then repeat the other way.

“On a more serious note, the idea of this is that we have to get our hips creating a figure eight. One hip will make half of the eight and as you transfer to the other foot the second half of the figure eight will be completed. To make the figure eight you move one hip at a time forward, around and back. Mastering the figure eight in the La Cucaracha demands a lot of discipline and a lot of internal tone. This is a great warm up in the morning. You can do your side to side steps and then your figure eight hip movements.”

Salsa (burn 264-528 calories per hour, depending upon your weight)

“Some of you may remember a very famous step that I brought into Strictly Come Dancing which was all about moving our hips. Again, it’s all about isolation. In this dance, you use your foot as the centre and then circle your hips around. What’s important here is you maintain a circling of your hips by pushing back but then use your abdominals to scrunch and pull back in and, importantly, you bend the knee throughout this action. Keep the knees nice and soft. You do one full circle, rotating the hips and then not forgetting to scrunch in your abs. Then you do another full circle in the other direction.

“Whilst mastering the hips circling you take simple side steps mastering one full circle of the hips with each two steps taken. Steps are quite simply side, together and repeat as many times as desired and in either direction.”

Jive (Keep this up and you will see the weight drop off)

“There is a great Jive step to exercise the thighs and calves. It is a tricky one and it’s all about balance, so if you need to, bring in a chair to use it for balance. It’s all about getting beautiful ankles, thighs and calves. First of all you bounce up and down. Instead of jumping, push up with your feet and up through the ankles to get a lovely lengthening. You will feel your thighs do a lot of work as you keep the weight over your toes and knees bent at all times. When confident and full balance is achieved all you need to do is keep stretching up and down as you use one leg to perform a kicking action, forward, side and back.”

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