Exercise, although recommended for weight loss, can be difficult to maintain over the long term.
However, some researchers have found that dancing can be an effective way to lose weight. As a physical activity, dancing tends to be more enjoyable than regular exercise and can even provide a venue for social interaction.
A recent meta-analysis that evaluated evidence from 10 studies examining the benefits of dancing for overweight and obese people reached this conclusion.
The paper on dancing was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The analysis showed that people who dance regularly showed improvements in body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, body fat percentage and pounds of fat lost compared to people who do not dance.
Numerous dance forms were included in the research, including step aerobics, cheer-leading, creative dance, Zumba, bhangra dance, traditional dance, dance video games, quadrille, simplified dance and aerobic fitness dance.
The duration of the dance sessions ranged from 40 to 90 minutes. All studies lasted at least 4 weeks, most lasted 3 months, and one lasted a year.
The researchers concluded that the key to any successful exercise program is sticking with it after the initial decision to start, and dance may offer enough entertainment value to make this more likely.