The Disadvantages of Dance Aerobics
Dance aerobics is a popular form of exercise in the United States, with health clubs, gyms and community centers often providing classes. This fun, vigorous exercise is not without risks. It is a high-impact workout that stresses your bones, joints, tendons and ligaments. You need good balance, endurance and strong bones to reduce your risk of injury. While dance aerobics can provide a good aerobic workout, there are some disadvantages associated with this type of exercise.
The repetitive jumping, stepping and hopping associated with dance aerobics may not be advisable for those who suffer from osteoporosis, arthritis or other bone conditions. Jumping and stepping is an high-impact activity that stresses your joints, tendons and ligaments. Weight-bearing exercises are often recommended for those with osteoporosis who want to improve their bone density, but high-impact weight-bearing exercises are typically advised against. Bending, twisting and jumping can stress fragile bones and may result in a fracture. High-impact exercises can also exacerbate the pain of arthritic joints.
Risk of Injury
Dance aerobics may present a high risk of injury, even for those in good physical condition. The high-impact nature of this activity puts you at risk for muscle strains and joint sprains. Some routines require jumping or leaping. The full impact of the weight of your body when you land, plus the pull of gravity will be taken on by your legs and hips. The repetitive pounding may result in stress fractures in your feet and shins. Knee sprains are also common.
Balance and Coordination
Dance aerobics moves can be complex, requiring coordination and balance. If your balance and coordination is poor, you might have problems keeping up with a group and risk a fall. Dancing and aerobic exercise can help improve your balance and coordination when done regularly for months, but they require those qualities from the start. Other aerobic exercise performed twice each week for four to six weeks can help improve your balance and coordination significantly. Once your balance is improved, you may want to try it.
Before you begin a dance aerobics exercise program, make sure your instructor is experienced and well trained. Also, make sure to limit high-impact exercises to no more than 20 minutes two or three times each week on non-consecutive days. Do not exercise to the point of fatigue. When you are tired, your risk of injury and falls increases greatly. See your doctor for a complete checkup before you start a dance aerobics class.
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs: Aerobic Dance
- National Osteoporosis Foundation: Exercising for Strong Bones
- Georgia State University; The Exercise and Physical Fitness Page; Aerobic Dance
- Saint Vincent: Aerobic Danced Injuries
- University of Delaware: The Effect of 4-Week Aerobic Exercise Program on Postural Balance in Postmenopausal Women with Osteoporosis
- American Association of Retired Persons: Dance
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.