People tend to think that dancers have strong cardiovascular endurance.
However, this is not always the case. Cardio training is crucial to enhancing your dance ability and fitness.
The Benefits of Cardiovascular Endurance for Dancers
Cardio respiratory training is an essential part of the physical training of a dancer. You need stamina to get through a choreography, especially if you’re dancing a very energetic style of dance, but cardio training is also important because it allows you to maintain proper technique throughout, which makes you less prone to injury.
The Cardiovascular System
Cardiovascular endurance depends on the ability of the heart and lungs to deliver oxygen to where it is needed and to continue for long periods of time under stress.
Source: Laura Stanyer
Most styles of dance have sequences of movement followed by pauses. These intermittent periods of activity work mostly on your anaerobic system, but they don’t really develop your aerobic capacity, which is what improves your cardio endurance.
This type of exercise is intense but doesn’t last long. When this happens, the demand for oxygen is sudden and the heart is unable to pump enough of it to the working muscles in that short period of time.
Anaerobic exercises are high intensity but short duration, such as sprinting and certain styles of dancing like centre work in ballet.
During aerobic exercises, there’s usually enough oxygen to sustain the current level of activity without having to resort to other energy sources like glycogen. This type of exercise is lower intensity and can be sustained for longer periods of time, such as jogging, swimming, and cycling.
Aerobic Dance Styles
When your cardiovascular endurance improves, so does your dance ability and fitness, which make you a better dancer. You can do cross-training if you’re not getting enough cardio workout out of your dance class or you can try other styles like African dance, samba, or contemporary, which work both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. You’ll burn fat, build lean muscle, and improve your cardio all at once. Not bad, right?