Spoonful of Sugar

As you know, I have been working diligently on creating a dance fitness class that will preserve some safe distancing, so participants aren’t coming too close for comfort.  This has been a challenging new factor to add to ensuring classes offer a safe, effective workout.  The fitness factor is foremost (otherwise you would be going to Arthur Murray) and what I am trained for.  The dance factor how we disguise something good for us as something fun; it is the spoonful of sugar. 

Fitness uses science-based, purposeful movements.  Dance is more creative, allowing us to interpret the “feels” we get from a song through body movement.  Unfortunately, that interpretation often moves us all around the dance floor, not allowing for safe distancing. 

We are conditioned to believe that an aerobic workout is all about the legs; running, cycling, climbing.  However, arm-focused activities such as rowing can also provide a really good aerobic workout; but is the calorie burn comparable?  First, we need to compare apples to apples; i.e. rowing versus running is apples to oranges since running is an impact activity which will intrinsically burn more calories.  A more fair comparison would be rowing versus walking. 

The actual calories burned during exercise depends on a lot of factors but for simplicity we will compare the calories burned per hour based on a weight of 135 pounds and various activity intensities.   

Intensity:LowModerateHigh
Rowing214 calories427 calories519 calories
Walking115172247

Now we know what the wheelchair athletes know, lower body movement isn’t necessary if we compensate with arm movement.  I learned this a while back when a foot injury prevented me from wearing shoes, so I sat down and participated in a dance fitness class using basically only my arms.  Guess what, my calorie burn was the same seated as standing.  So, like the old Club Med theme song says, “Hands up, baby, hands up.”

This is important.  I don’t know about you; but my lower body abilities vary daily due to a knee replacement, a job-related chronic injury, and the ongoing side effects of my initial knee injury.  Knowing that I can take it easy on my legs/knees when I need to and still get a good workout means staying healthy, active, and independent. 

As a side note, complicated footwork does not increase your aerobic workout, it may even diminish it down since you have to concentrate so hard on getting it right that you are slower and forget to move your arms.  My classes keep the footwork simple and the traveling minimized so you are safe distanced, get a good workout, feel successful, and can easily modify for your body’s abilities on any given day.

Published by sfransila

Peer fitness for active seniors. Helping seniors stay active and independent. I am 60+ with a total knee replacement. I believe fitness should be safe and accessible to everyone. I became a certified and licensed fitness instructor in my mid 50s, after the knee replacement. It's all about turning what other people see as a weakness into a strength.

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