A happy, stylish woman dancing

A happy, stylish woman dancing (Photo by Dmitry Lobanov on Shutterstock)

🔑 Key Findings:

  • Dancing can provide similar benefits as exercise for overweight individuals
  • Researchers found dance is especially beneficial for patients under 45
  • Obese children and Parkinson’s disease patients also benefited from dancing

XIANGTAN, China — Getting out on the dancefloor can be an effective way for individuals who are overweight to lose weight, according to a new study. Dancing throughout the night leads to significant improvements in body mass, waist circumference, body fat, and fat mass in those who are overweight or obese.

Additionally, researchers in China found that dance enhances blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, physical fitness, cognitive functions, and mental health. Furthermore, dancing can also aid in managing various health conditions, such as diabetes, gallstones, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.

While exercise remains a primary treatment for these conditions, maintaining long-term exercise habits can be challenging. The researchers suggest that dance, being a social and enjoyable form of exercise, may be an ideal solution for sustaining exercise routines, as it is likely to be more enjoyable for participants.

“Dance is effective on fat loss in people with overweight and obesity, and has a significant improvement on body composition and morphology. For its high efficiency and greater sense of enjoyment, dance can be a beneficial exercise intervention for fat loss,” researchers write in the journal PLOS ONE.

Overweight woman hand pinching excessive belly fat
Researchers found that dance enhances blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, physical fitness, cognitive functions, and mental health. (© suriya – stock.adobe.com)

“As a form of physical activity that integrates exercise, entertainment, and sociality, dance possesses innate advantages in fostering motivation for exercise,” the study authors write. “Duration lasting for more than 3 months, along with creative dance forms, is more conducive to achieving clinical objectives related to improvements in body composition.”

“Simultaneously with fat loss, dance preserves and enhances the body morphology of the participants. Moreover, dance is particularly well-suited for the young population (<45 years) as a substitute for traditional exercise protocols in terms of fat loss,” the team concludes.

To obtain their results, the research team analyzed data from 646 participants who were overweight or obese, across 10 different studies. Their findings revealed that dance is highly effective in improving body composition. Notably, more creative forms of dance resulted in the most significant improvements in body composition compared to traditional dance forms.

They observed further benefits in overweight children and patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Although researchers did see fat loss similar to that achieved through aerobic exercise, resistance training, and high-intensity interval training, dance had a distinct advantage in reducing fat percentage. This is attributed to its nature as a full-body exercise that is less likely to induce fatigue. Consequently, dance is easier to sustain compared to other exercise forms.

The team acknowledged the need for more extensive research on this subject. However, they confidently conclude that dance is a highly effective method for weight loss.

South West News Service writer Isobel Williams contributed to this report.

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

Our Editorial Team

Steve Fink


Chris Melore


Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor

1 Comment

  1. Pruney says:

    Personally, I prefer skinny dipping.