Fox Trot Your Way to Better Health

50 Ways to Improve Your Life in 2008: Dancing provides a good workout

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Sure, you love watching the celebrities on Dancing With the Stars, but do you have what it takes to learn to waltz, salsa, and ballroom dance yourself? Learning can be fun, and it provides a good workout, as demonstrated by celebs like Marie Osmond, who reportedly lost 31 pounds while participating in the popular TV show. Here's further motivation: A study published last month showed that dancing led to better balance and improved physical performance in a group of adults 60 and older. Dancers in their 50s developed better flexibility.

Dance lessons abound online and on DVD, enabling you to get your boogie on in the comfort of your own home. If you're ready to give it a try, here are some options:

Take a class. Check with dance studios and gyms in your area.

Let your computer teach you. A variety of websites offer dance lessons online:

  • Learntodance.com offers free video dance lessons, which teach visitors to ballroom dance, break dance, fox trot, salsa, and more.
  • Dancetv.com aims to teach you to ballroom dance, waltz, fox trot, and East Coast swing via a series of text-heavy pages. The site also sells a tutorial video and music cd for $29.95.
  • Learning2dance.com provides online lessons—some free and others for a $2-to-$5 fee—in the waltz, salsa, and other styles.
  • YouTube.com offers dance lessons, too. (In fact, the "Evolution of Dance" clip is one of the site's most popular, logging more than 68 million views.) The site's massive video library includes instructional clips in classical and contemporary dance moves. A recent search for "learn to waltz" turned up 259 results.

Let a DVD be your guide. Many options exist. Dancing With the Stars offers its own DVDs, available at ABCtvstore.seenon.com; search for "dancing DVD."