This Fun Exercise Actually Burns Tons of Calories — Here’s Where to Do It in Philly

If running is your most-dreaded calorie-burning activity, give the world of dance a try.

Dancing is kind of an innate human activity. I mean, babies do it! Their little bodies and pudgy limbs bounce up and down and flail, happy as can be. And then we grow up and we start to feel awkward and self-conscious about our moves. But as TIME recently reported, dancing is actually a really great workout. So it’s time we all get over ourselves.

Get this: As TIME reports, according to a report from the University of Brighton in the U.K.,  just 30 minutes of dancing will burn you around 300 calories or more — which is equal to or more than you would burn during an easy run or swim and even — *gasp* — cycling. The reason dancing burns so many calories is because your body is constantly moving in all sorts of directions. “There is a lot of accelerating and decelerating in dancing, which the body is less able to do in an energy efficient way,” the report’s coauthor Nick Smeeton tells TIME. So basically, your body works harder to keep up with the changing rhythms of dance, expending more energy.

So, if you’ve never quite gotten into other forms of cardio (we totally get it — the treadmill isn’t exactly our idea of fun either), dancing might be a great way to mix up your routine while getting a killer calorie burn in. To get you started, we compiled a list of six local dance classes to try. Bonus points: They’re super fun! 

What: POUND Fitness
Where: Philly Dance Fitness, 1624 South Street, Rittenhouse (this location only)
When: Fridays from 7 to 8 p.m.

This funky class is a total-body cardio jam session where you will literally be rocking out the entire time — with weighted drumsticks — to killer tunes. The class combines cardio, Pilates, isometric poses and plyometrics to help strengthen and tone every nook and cranny of muscle on your body. We’ve tried it and can confirm that it is a muscle-burning good time.

What: BarreCardio
Where: Life Time Fitness, 375 Commerce Drive, Fort Washington and 700 East Swedesford Road, King of Prussia
When: Tuesdays 12 to 1 p.m. at Fort Washington; Fridays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. at King of Prussia

This fast-paced cardio and barre-fusion class, taught by the awesome Alexis Rose, will leave you feeling a serious burn. Life Time is a members-only gym, but you can buy a day pass for $35, which gives you full access to the facility. (And you know what that means? Post-dance class pool time.)

What: Bey Body HIIT
Where: Allongee, 232 Market Street, Old City
When: Fridays at 11:45 a.m.

This 45-minute cardio-focused class is designed to sculpt your body while you jam out to tunes by Queen Bey herself (duh), combining HIIT with CardioBarre sequences for a killer full-body sweat session.

What: Hip Hop
Where: Koresh Dance Company, 2002 Rittenhouse Square, Rittenhouse
When: Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.

There’s no question that hip-hop dance classes are quite the workout — the explosive movements, isolations and funky footwork are bound to get your heart rate up. Each of these classes ends with learning choreography — which you can practice on your walk home so you don’t forget. (It’s Philly: No one will bat an eye at you for bustin’ a move on the sidewalk.)

What: Bellydance
Where: Studio 1831, 1831 Brandywine Street, Fairmount
When: Monday through Wednesday evenings, though time depends on skill level. Check the schedule here.

If you’re still dreaming of being on Shakira’s hip-shaking level, it’s time to give bellydancing a whirl. It’s probably best to start with Studio 1831’s beginner class, where you’ll learn the basics and tone up and then climb the bellydancing ladder from there to levels one and two (aka full Shakira status).

What: Swing Time: Hammock Dance and Acrobatics
Where: Kaya Aerial Yoga, 225 Quarry Street, Old City
When: Sunday afternoons, though time depends on skill level. Check out the schedule here.

This class will take your dancing to the next level — off of the ground. Kaya offers both beginner and intermediate levels of this aerial dance class, both teaching participants how to use the aerial hammock as a tool for dance with flips, tricks and mounts. In the beginner class you’ll, learn and master the basics while the intermediate class will build upon those moves with some extra challenges.

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