When it comes to exercise, I have a guilty pleasure: dance workout DVDs. At home. Alone. Just me and the TV. Hey, if Ashton Kutcher works out to exercise DVDs it can’t be that uncool.
The truth is, I get bored with exercise easily. You’ll never find me plodding around the gym on my own, diligently doing bicep curls or cruising on the elliptical. I need new routines all the time. And, if my workout is to last longer than 15 minutes, I need to be distracted from the fact that I’m working out.
Exercise DVDs do just that. (The funnier, the better.)
Now, I know I preach against exercise distractions, but this is different. Videos don’t take your focus away from your workout. Actually, a good instructor can keep you on track with your breathing, your form and your motivation.
But are dance fitness DVDs a real workout, or are you just twirling and cha-cha-ing around? If you get a good DVD, then trust me—it’s a real workout. Not just a physical one, either: you’ll work up a mental sweat as you try to get the choreography down.
As a failed ballerina (after some ten years of trying), I appreciate the at-home option. I’m rhythmically challenged and have a terrible memory, which makes mastering choreography a bit tough. You’re probably a much better dancer than me, but these videos might teach you new exercises. Maybe you’re gearing up to join a dance fitness class and want to get warmed up first.
So, without further ado, here are a handful of my go-to dance workout DVDs. My criteria for a good one? It has to include ample warm-up and clear instructions, and deliver equal parts fun and sweat.
- Hip Hop: Urban Street Heat with MaDonna Grimes. The impossibly-toned MaDonna makes it easy to learn “freestyle” routines, even if you have zero dance background. It’s a unique, full-body cardio workout for gals and guys (I bet Ashton has this one!).
- Latin: Salsa Cardio Workout from She & Company. This one’s sexy, fun, fast-paced and perfectly short—just 25 minutes.
- Belly Dancing: Flex Appeal with Kathy Smith. This DVD has both slow and fast routines, but don’t be fooled: even the slow will give you serious ab toning. Belly dancing is about more than your abdominals though: it engages you from head to toe and, like yoga, helps you get in touch with your body. Sounds like a piece of cake? Then you’ve never tried it! But this video simplifies belly dancing for beginners.
- Ballroom: Dance with Julianne: Cardio Ballroom. Julianne of Dancing with the Stars coaches you through a series of high-powered cardio routines worthy of the stage. You’ll love learning the jive.
- Striptease: Since I mentioned them in the teaser, I might as well mention them here. I rented Carmen Electra’s aerobic videos from the library (of all places) but they weren’t my favorite. The only time I broke a sweat was because I felt awkward! And I don’t have the guts to try the Pussycat Dolls workout DVD… just yet.
If you love dancing or hate exercise, dance fitness workouts could be your ticket to a perfectly-toned physique. Get your friends in on it and you can laugh the whole way through.
Naturally, I’m always gearing up to try new fitness DVDs (like the Dancing with the Stars workouts!) so stay tuned. In the meantime, what’s your favorite?