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Dance Your Way to a Healthier Heart

May 01, 2024
Middle aged couple dancing together while wearing all denim and smiling at the camera

Unlocking Cardiovascular Benefits Through Dance

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for adults in the US, responsible for nearly 1 in every 3 deaths, or more than 800,000 people. Roughly 160,000 of those deaths are individuals under the age of 65.

However, improving cardiovascular health and protecting your heart for the future is easier—and more fun—than you think, says CardioVascular Health Clinic’s Dr. Dwayne Schmidt, an interventional cardiologist and cardiovascular disease specialist with more than 40 years of experience in diagnosing and treating heart disease.

“Your heart is a muscle just like any other in your body,” explains Dr. Schmidt, “so it benefits from exercise just like any other muscle.”

By getting just 20-30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise, he says, “you can improve your heart’s ability to function and dramatically reduce your risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease.”

So what qualifies as aerobic exercise?

Aerobic exercise—sometimes also called endurance or cardio exercise—is any type of moderate to high-intensity activity that gets your heart pumping for a sustained amount of time, increasing your heart rate and breathing but not so much that you have to stop and rest after a short period. That can include swimming, cycling, rowing, jogging…and dancing.

Dance Your Way to a Healthier Heart

Regular physical activity trains your cardiovascular system to expand the level of demand and increase its capacity, making your heart stronger and more efficient at moving oxygenated blood throughout your body and resulting in increased blood flow and volume to the heart. During aerobic exercise in particular, the cells in your body become better at turning oxygen into energy, yielding significant benefits to the heart and giving you more energy for everything else you do in your daily life. This is the primary reason why the American Journal of Cardiology suggests that aerobic training is the most efficient method of exercising to improve cardiovascular health.

We all know that exercise is good for us, but aerobic activities and activities involving other people are especially beneficial, making dancing the ultimate aerobic exercise. Whether you need a break from your normal routine or just don’t like traditional workouts, dancing has something for everyone.

Because it involves movement in all directions and lots of accelerating and decelerating, dancing for cardio can burn up to 300 calories every half-hour, which is more than running, swimming, or cycling at a moderate pace, while the dopamine and endorphins released while dancing can help improve mood, mental clarity, and emotional health. By reducing the heart’s long-term exposure to emotional stress that weakens the heart muscle, you may be able to avoid certain forms of heart failure.  

Dancing has also been shown to improve your lipid profile, a test cardiologists use to measure the different types of fat in your blood. Aerobic exercise like dance can increase your “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels while helping to manage or lower the levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the kind that contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries and can lead to heart disease.

Other benefits of dancing for cardiovascular exercise include:

  • No need for any equipment; you can dance anywhere!
  • Easy on the joints while improving bone density
  • Improved sleep and memory
  • Reduced risk of anxiety and depression
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Improved immune function
  • Lower high blood pressure

Best Types of Dance Styles for Cardiovascular Health

Any type of dancing that gets your heart and breathing rate up is great for cardiovascular health, but there are certain styles that are specifically designed to improve both your heart and your overall health as well as stamina, strength, and endurance.

Zumba. Zumba is a high-energy, fast-paced workout that boasts easy-to-follow full-body dance moves set to a fusion of Latin and international music. A study in the International Journal of Sports medicine found that after just 12 weeks of Zumba, study participants experienced lower resting heart rates and improved overall cardiovascular fitness.

Jazzercise. An exercise staple since the mid-1980s, Jazzercise continues to be a great option for all exercise levels. This dance fitness program combines jazz dance, Pilates-inspired moves, and resistance training to improve not just cardiovascular endurance but strength and flexibility as well.

LaBlast. LaBlast is an interval cardio dance fitness workout based on high-energy ballroom dance styles like the cha-cha, salsa, disco, swing, tango, and merengue.

Ballet fitness, such as Barre. A blend of classical ballet moves, Pilates, yoga, and cardio, ballet fitness classes offer a low-impact, full-body workout that’s also great for your heart.

BollyX. This fun, upbeat dance workout combines traditional Indian and Bollywood dance with modern music and style, getting your heart pumping while also improving your coordination, balance, and mood.

BOKWA. Unlike Zumba, which follows structured choreography, BOKWA keeps participants moving by drawing letters and numbers with their feet, led by an instructor using hand signals. This dance fitness program is based in the South African musical tradition of Kwaito and involves both high and low intensity movements.

Hip Hop. Hip hop cardio dance workouts incorporate street dance moves with hip hop music for a high-energy experience that improves your heart rate and stamina.

Getting the Most Out of Your Cardiovascular Dance Workout

It doesn’t take much to get a lot out of a dance workout for cardiovascular health. Here are 3 tips to help you find your beat:

  1. Start small and work your way up to longer sessions. Build dancing into your daily routine with 5-10 minute “dance breaks,” and as you gain more aerobic fitness, you’ll be able to increase your exercise intensity.
  2. Treat your dance workout like a regular workout. Make time for it, warm up and stretch appropriately, and keep up a consistent pace.
  3. Keep your feet moving! Even if you can’t follow the choreography yet, keep moving the best you can to keep your heart rate up. Stick with it, and eventually you’ll be grooving with the best of them!

As with any exercise regimen, it’s important to consult with your doctor before starting a cardio dance workout, especially if you have heart or other health issues.

Take Control of Your Cardiovascular Health with CardioVascular Health Clinic

CardioVascular Health Clinic is a comprehensive, full-service provider committed to providing patients with innovative, cutting-edge interventional care. Our team of multi-disciplinary specialists leads the country minimally-invasive, image-guided treatment procedures for a broad range of cardiovascular conditions, and we embrace a personalized, integrative approach to care that prioritizes your health today for a better tomorrow. From early prevention to diagnosis and treatment, our physicians take the time to develop a complete and individualized treatment plan that extends beyond our office so you can live your life to the fullest.

For the best in cardiovascular and interventional care, the choice is clear—trust your heart’s health to CardioVascular Health Clinic and schedule an appointment today. 

Patient Resources

We’re committed to timely, efficient, and affordable care.
Here is a collection of useful resources our new and existing patients need in one convenient location.
Please let us know if you need additional information or have any questions.


I’m about one month out and things are so much better. At my two week evaluation my symptom score had gone from a 27 to a 7, and I’m sure it’s even better now. That speaks volumes. Now that I’m post recovery, there is no incontinence, I go to the bathroom much less and there are no ED side effects like there are with other procedures. In regard to my quality of life, well, I don’t maintain my life based on my proximity to a bathroom anymore.

Blaine P., M.D.
Professional staff working in a beautiful facility with great doctors who sincerely care about their patients. Without Dr. Schmidt's skill, I would have needed heart bypass surgery instead of a stent. Follow-up has been thorough. I can't recommend them highly enough.
LeAnn H.

Dr. Jim Melton and all the staff are fantastic. He is an excellent surgeon and his team is GREAT!!!! I just had surgery at the surgery center, I have only great things to say about my experience. Without him I really don't think I would be here to write this. If you’re looking for a good cardiovascular team, they are a 5 star for sure.

Susie H.

Dr. Parsons and staff are amazing. He truly listened to me from the consult. Staff showed genuine care for my progress post procedure. I had my follow up appointment today so satisfied with results. Blake made me comfortable from the start. He is an activist for uterine fibroids treatment beyond the standard.

Tamara M.

Professional and caring staff. Dr. Smith is very knowledgeable and shows genuine concern for your personal health. I enjoyed the background music in the procedure room, it really adds to the relaxing atmosphere.

David L.

Dr. John Schrader is the most personable doctor we know. He stays on top of my dads health care and is genuinely concerned about his health. We never leave his office with questions. He answers them all. Even questions we don’t think of. Always professional but never cold or bad bedside manner. In our opinion he is THE BEST around.
Thank you Dr Schrader.

Kathy J.

I came to Dr. Warren by a self referral for mals when it took me 8yrs 50+ doctors and thousands of dollars spent on no answers. My first visit I was scared I was just going to be gaslighted just like the past however I was pleasantly shocked when Dr. Warren immediately believed me. She took the time to review many disk I had brought from past tests. She never once dismissed me and listened to ever word I had to say. She scheduled one last test to confirm the diagnosis then I was scheduled for surgery right away. Surgery was a success and I can’t thank her and her staff enough. Dr. Warren truly saved my life.

Angie W.

Dr. Garner literally saved my life 18 months ago and I've followed him to his new practice with Cardiovascular Health. He explains things so clearly, listens and is just a very nice person. His staff is great, too! I highly recommend!

D Watts

Some of the nicest staff that I have ever dealt with!! They have been so incredibly awesome to my mom!! Would definitely recommend them to anyone!! Thank you so much for being so great with her!!

Christy G.

The staff, the nurses, and Dr. Parsons were all amazing. Everything was simple and went well – very Bravo Zulu (military phrase meaning "well done"). In addition to the great staff at CardioVascular Health Clinic, the facilities were clean and well maintained. I have no complaints about anything. The whole experience was A1. I would recommend Dr. Parsons to anyone. He made a huge impact on my life.

John W.

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