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Conventional weight loss methods often fall short in long-term appeal and effectiveness. Addressing this, recent medical research is exploring alternative approaches that balance enjoyment with health benefits.
This search for balance brings us to the recommendations of global health authorities like the World Health Organisation (WHO). According to the WHO, physical activity is beneficial for heart, body, and mind health and refers to all the movements we perform, especially during leisure time, at work, or when moving from one place to another.
In line with this understanding of physical activity’s broad benefits, let’s explore a specific form that’s gaining attention for its unique advantages.
Dancing helps obese and overweight patients lose weight
Although physical activity helps prevent and treat non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, it can be difficult to maintain sporting habits in the long term. Recently, researchers at Hunan University of Science and Technology (China) suggested that dancing, as a social and enjoyable form of exercise, could be an ideal alternative to regular exercise, as it is likely to be more enjoyable for patients.
They came to this conclusion based on a study they conducted and published in the journal Plos One.
Digging deeper into this suggestion, the research team conducted an extensive review to substantiate their hypothesis. In their detailed investigation, the team at Hunan University of Science and Technology sifted through seven databases up to July 3, 2023. They zeroed in on studies where dance was used as an intervention in individuals with a BMI over 24 kg/m^2 and a higher than normal fat percentage (above 20% for men and 25% for women). The study was inclusive of various dance forms.
For the paper, the team examined 654 studies that looked at the effects of dance interventions on body composition in overweight and obese people with a normal lifestyle. The results showed that dance led to significant improvements in body weight, waist circumference, BMI, and body fat mass in overweight and obese patients.
Dancing preserves and improves body morphology
“Due to its high efficacy and greater sense of pleasure, dancing may be a beneficial physical intervention for fat loss. In addition to weight loss, this physical activity preserves and improves the body morphology of the participants”. Also, dancing is particularly suitable for the younger population, i.e. adults under 45 years of age, the authors conclude, before adding that more research is needed on the subject.
Turning to dance for weight management is more than a new idea; it’s a practical, enjoyable alternative to traditional methods. This shift towards integrating pleasure with health could be a key to lasting change in the fight against obesity.
Zhang, Y., Guo, Z., Liu, Y., Zhou, Y., & Jing, L. (2024). Is dancing an effective intervention for fat loss? A systematic review and meta-analysis of dance interventions on body composition. PLOS ONE, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0296089