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How Many Calories Does a Dance Fitness Class Really Burn?


From Jazzercise™ to Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies, dance-based fitness has been around for decades, and the party-like atmosphere it’s known to provide continues to be seen in popular present-day classes like Zumba™, Doonya™, and, recently, QiDance™.

Formerly known as Batuka™, QiDance blends everything from hip-hop to Bollywood into one energizing class set to pump-you-up music. Fun, sure, but can you really get a better body just by busting a move?

The American Council on Exercise (ACE®) turned to John Pocari, Ph.D., and Megan Buermann, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s department of exercise and sports science to evaluate the fitness benefits and the calorie-burning potential of a QiDance™ sesh.

The ACE-sponsored study was designed to determine the average exercise intensity and energy expenditure during a typical class. Twenty healthy, fit females ranging in age from 18 to 25—all of whom had taken dance-based fitness classes before—received a QiDance™ DVD to practice the routine at least three times before the actual group testing session: a 52-minute session lead by a certified QiDance™ instructor.

Turns out that the women burned an average 8.3 calories each minute of class—that’s 430 calories in less than an hour!—making it an effective total-body workout that falls within the established guidelines for improving cardiorespiratory fitness. In fact, QiDance™ on average burns more calories per minute than other popular group fitness classes, such as traditional cardio kickboxing and step aerobics.

RELATED: Professional dancers have enviable, lean, toned bodies. Learn how the world-famous Alvin Ailey dancers stay in shape.

Aside from the calorie burning potential, the fun factor of this class format is not to be overlooked, as the dynamic choreography from a variety of different dance genres set to original upbeat music from QiDance™ creator Kike Santander may be key elements that help people to stick with their commitment to physical activity for the long haul.

I personally had the pleasure of teaching a few of these energizing dance moves alongside Entertainment Tonight’s Nancy O’Dell at Hershey’s Moderation Nation campaign launch in Hershey, PA. The excitement and fun that QiDance™ brings is something I can attest to from own experience, and let’s be honest—who doesn’t want to have fun while getting fit?

To learn more about the benefits of QiDance™ and other popular group fitness formats, check out ACE’s research studies!

Photo: ACE


Jessica Matthews, M.S., is an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise (ACE®), the nation’s trusted authority on fitness. She is also an ACE-certified Personal Trainer, ACE Group Fitness Instructor, and an experienced registered yoga teacher. For tips and tools to live your most fit life visit and connect with Jessica on Twitter at @fitexpertjess.


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