We all know we’re supposed to stay active to live healthy lives, but that’s much easier said than done. The busier you are, the harder it can be to fit a solid workout routine into your schedule—especially if it’s something you don’t enjoy.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to stay fit nowadays, and many women are ditching gym memberships for dance and yoga instead!

Dance and yoga are both fantastic options for women because they allow you to get in shape while having fun. As a bonus, you can tailor your routines to your experience level and time constraints. And for the social butterflies out there, you can even sign up for classes to make new friends while you push toward your workout goals!

All of these little benefits can make a huge difference in how often you fit in a sweat sesh and keep you motivated to work out consistently.

But obviously, dance and yoga are two very different types of exercise, and no workout is a one-size-fits-all scenario. So, which of these options is best for you? Let’s take a closer look to help you decide.

Exercise with Dance

Why Exercise with Dance?

There are so many fun ways to exercise with dance! Zumba and Jazzercise are always popular, but they’re not your only options. You could try ballet, tap dancing, or any traditional dancing. But if you really want to get your heart pumping, salsa dancing, aerobic dancing, and even pole dancing are all fun choices with big benefits. The most important factor is choosing a type of dance that you enjoy and can regularly fit into your lifestyle.

If you only have 30 minutes a day to work out, don’t sign up for an hour-long ballet class three times a week. Choose something you can do at home in quick spurts. On the other hand, if you have more free time and not much motivation, paying for an in-person class can force you to show up to get your money’s worth.

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The Benefits of Dance

  1.     Cardio

The biggest reason for choosing dance over yoga is cardio. While most dances (done correctly) will help you work up a sweat, certain types will burn more calories than a run. For example, ballroom dancing burns about 118 calories every 30 minutes, but Zumba burns 9.5 calories per minute! That’s a great way to see some weight loss and toning.

Remember: it’s always easier to improve cardiovascular health with dance when you enjoy the style you choose. So, calories aside, be sure to pick one you’ll enjoy enough to stick with.

Benefits of Dance
  1.     Coordination and Balance

Did you know that you can improve coordination through dance? Studies have found that dancing is one of the best ways to improve your coordination because the movements require your brain to work with your whole body simultaneously. So don’t worry if you feel like you have two left feet—the more you practice, the easier it will be to navigate the dance floor and the rest of your life!

But that’s not the only perk. You can actually use dance for better balance! As you improve your overall body coordination, your balance will naturally improve, too. In fact, studies have found evidence that dancing can even help chronic dizziness and vertigo. This is especially vital for older women—but the earlier you start training your body, the better!

  1.     Strength

As you bust new moves, you’ll naturally work your muscles—including some you probably didn’t know you had! If you really want to build strength with dance, choose a style that requires jumping, twirling, and lifting motions. For example, Masala Bhangra, salsa, and belly dancing will tone your body and work all the muscles.

  1.     Flexibility

Did you know that you could increase flexibility with dance? And no, we’re not just talking about ballet. While you probably won’t get as much flexibility through dance as you would through yoga, you can still experience some significant improvements. Moving your body in new ways through dancing will naturally increase your range of motion and loosen up tight joints and muscles.

If flexibility is a priority and you want to choose dance over yoga, consider styles with focused stretching elements, like barre, ballet, or contemporary dance.

  1.     Mood & Energy

Have you been feeling a bit low or tired? Turns out, you can boost your mental health through dancing!

So many factors contribute to our overall mood and energy, but dancing affects quite a few of those!

For example, mastering a new dance can boost your confidence while simultaneously giving you a good outlet to express yourself. You can also use dance for stress relief and leave all those negative feelings on the dance floor. And since dancing will naturally help you burn fat and tone your body, you’ll also feel better about your body image.

But mental and physical energy are significant parts of this equation, too.

You may show up to class feeling a bit low, but stepping into an active dance routine can give you an instant energy boost that sticks with you mentally, even after you’ve finished your session. And don’t forget that consistent exercise will gradually increase your overall stamina and energy, giving you long-term benefits with each workout.

Exercise with Yoga

Why Exercise with Yoga?

While yoga may seem pretty one-dimensional at first glance, there are dozens of ways to practice it! Each form has a different focus, style, and moves, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Instead, view this variety as the freedom to fully experience yoga in a way that suits your body. If you prefer something slow-paced and relaxing, try Hatha yoga, restorative yoga, or yin yoga. But if you would rather push your body and work up a sweat, opt for a style like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, or hot yoga.

One of the greatest perks of yoga is that it can fit into any lifestyle, regardless of your at-home space, time constraints, or level of expertise. Your yoga routine can also easily evolve with your life, making it easy to stick with over time.

Benefits of Yoga

The Benefits of Yoga

  1. Stress and Anxiety Reduction

Even without meditating, the mental benefits of yoga are pretty profound. You can use yoga to reduce stress, anxiety, and even depression! It’s pretty much an overall mood booster.

How does this work? One primary focus of yoga is mental and physical relaxation. When you let yourself be in the moment, you leave worries behind. As you sink into poses, your body releases physical blockages (like muscle knots and tension) that relieve pent-up emotions!

If you’re interested in using yoga to improve your mood, we recommend choosing a slower and more mindful form like Hatha or Yin yoga.

  1. Strength

Yes, yoga is also good for strength-building! Many people don’t understand this because they only know about downward dog and child’s pose. But yoga is a full-body exercise that can build strong muscles from head to toe and encourage weight loss!

While yoga doesn’t use weights, you often move or hold your entire body in challenging positions that will build muscle and increase strength. Many positions are variations of planks, squats, lunches, or push-ups—all with a slight twist to make them even more challenging!

If you want to use yoga for strength building, we recommend a more challenging form like Vinyasa, power yoga, or hot yoga, which can push your athletic limits.

  1. Flexibility

Flexibility is probably the benefit yoga is most known for—and it’s a big one. No matter your age, increasing your overall range of motion has substantial short- and long-term health benefits. You’ll improve your overall performance in physical activities, reduce your chances of injury, and keep your joints healthy.

If you’re just starting out with yoga, we recommend Hatha to get you loosened up. The style is very calm, and you typically hold positions for up to 30 seconds, which isn’t too challenging. Once you’ve increased your flexibility, feel free to move into any other type of yoga to improve your range of motion throughout your body!

  1. Balance & Posture

Did you know that you can also improve balance with yoga? Yoga has many postures that challenge both static balance (standing in one spot without swaying) and dynamic balance (being able to react as you move). You often hold these postures for extended periods, strengthening the muscles you need for better balance. Some of the most popular balance poses are tree pose, eagle pose, dancer, and Warrior III.

But as you increase your balance and find your center of gravity, you’ll naturally find better posture, too! Many balance postures in yoga require you to use your core and sit or stand “tall” with your spine as straight as possible. As you build the muscles and awareness around these moves, you’ll naturally develop better posture!

health benefits of yoga
  1. Mind-Body Connection

Life gets crazy, and sometimes, the most beneficial thing you can do for yourself is check in on yourself. Yoga is fantastic for this because it strongly emphasizes mindfulness and intentional breathing, which promote a mind-body connection.

While an exercise like dance may provide an “escape,” yoga intentionally encourages you to open up your heart and body and let positivity in to replace negativity and stress. Breathing exercises are a big part of this because you force yourself to be intentional with the flow of air and energy in your body. As you breathe, it’s easier to be in the moment and create positivity that goes beyond the mat.

If this is an important benefit for you, consider Iyengar, Kripalu, or Kundalini yoga, which all emphasize awareness and mental benefits.

Choosing the Right Exercise for YOU

Dance and yoga both have fantastic overall health benefits. So, how do you choose the right exercise and style for you?

First, consider your personal fitness goals. Do you need something high-intensity, or would a more relaxing and mindful option be better?

Next, consider your personality. Do you enjoy being creative and moving freely, or would you prefer a more structured routine?

Third, don’t forget to listen to your body and choose an activity that meets your current physical limitations.

And finally, don’t be afraid to give both options a shot! You may not realize how much you enjoy something until you try it! There’s a chance you’ll even want to incorporate both exercises into your weekly routine to mix things up.

As we said before, choosing a routine you’ll enjoy enough to stick with is the most important thing.

No matter what you decide, be sure you’re prepared for your new workout with clothes that are up for the task! Stelle has a great selection of dancewear and yoga clothes to help you feel confident and comfortable with every move.
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Dance or Yoga? How to Choose the Right One for You!