Research Finds Dancing May Burn More Calories Than Cycling, Running Or Swimming

UNITED KINGDOM (CBS) – Certain styles of dance can burn more calories per hour than cycling, running or swimming, according to new research from the University of Brighton.

Scientists from the university teamed up with dancers to conduct the study.

Researchers say 15 students between the ages of 24 to 38 participated in a series of dance classes and scientists measured their heart rate, distance covered, energy expended and psychological states.

Dancers wore catapult vests with accelerometers and heart rate monitors that tracked energy expenditure.

Researchers say after each class, participants were asked to rate their psychological state of mind using a questionnaire.

According to the study, scientists discovered that participants in the contemporary, street and swing dances burned more calories than they would have in a comparative time period running, swimming or cycling.

The participants’ weight, age and general fitness were all taken into account, researchers say.

Dr. Nick Smeeton, from the department of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Brighton says, “Dance not only appears to increase positive and reduce negative emotions, which are typical effects of exercise, but we also found that dancing actually reduced feelings of fatigue too. People may be familiar with runners’ high and there appears to be a similar effect after dancing too. We have seen that dancing improves your emotional state. Furthermore, it seems to have an energizing effect. Add in the known benefits of social interaction you get whilst dancing and it becomes a powerful way to improve your health and well-being.”

The study was led by Dr. Nick Smeeton and Dr. Gary Brickley.

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