Some people enjoy it. Some people loathe it. Everybody, we are told, ought to be doing more of it. If you’re a dancer, the chances are that you’re already well ahead of the national average for cardiovascular fitness. But how much should you be doing in a pair of Latin heels, and how much on a treadmill? Is there a difference? Let’s take a quick twirl through cardio health.
What’s The Deal With Cardio?
Cardiovascular exercise – normally simply called ‘cardio’ and ‘CV’ – refers to any exercise that increases the heart rate. This enhances the delivery of oxygen to muscles.
This is an incremental process: the more cardio you do, the stronger the body’s cardiovascular system will become. This means that:
- Muscles become stronger and more efficient at burning energy
- Stamina and endurance increase
- Heart strength and heart health are increased
- Resting energy use is optimised
Intense cardio is often used for weight loss. However, the real benefit is that strengthening the heart muscle improves the entire circulatory system. This means that key processes – such as nutritional function and cellular repair – are more efficient. Dancing isn’t just good for the soul – your body will love you for it too.
Which Exercises Are Good For Cardiovascular Fitness?
When it comes to cardio, there is something for everyone. The list includes:
- Fast walking, jogging, running, step training
- Cycling, spinning
- Tennis, badminton, and other ball sports
The trick is to find something that you enjoy doing. If you’ve already been seduced by dancing, you might find that other CV activities – such as aerobics or tennis – are a good match.
How Much CV Do I Need?
There is no golden rule. Cardio is a very personal fitness area, and the perfect regimen depends upon a complex melting pot of genetics, existing fitness level, daily activities, age, diet, and more.
The NHS recommends 150 minutes of brisk walking per week in order to maintain good cardiovascular health. However, to increase to professional fitness levels, try to work out about three or four times a week. Aim for a session that lasts between 45 minutes and an hour, and try to get your pulse up to around 120 beats per minute (bpm).
For a more intense workout, raise your pulse above 150 bmp for 20 seconds at a time, before resting at 100 bmp for 40 seconds. A high-octane Cha-Cha-Cha should do the trick!
How Can I Avoid Injury?
Some types of cardio put more stress on the joints than others. This is one of the reasons that dancing all day can lead to injuries. When dancing, high-quality ergonomic practice shoes are therefore an absolute must, as these safely absorb and direct shock whilst protecting the heel and tendons. Apply the same rule to any cardio where your feet touch the ground: invest in good footwear, and your risk of injury is reduced.
Whether you choose to get your cardio entirely from dance, or whether you prefer to throw some other activities into the mix, boosting heart and stamina always goes a long way on the dance floor. At Ray Rose, we’re always keen to hear about ideas for improving performance – whether that’s through finding the ideal pair of professional shoes or finding innovative ways to improve health. If you’ve got any ideas, let us know!