Instead of Watching "Dancing with the Stars," Get Up and Boogie

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ABC’s Dancing with the Stars will begin its 10th season on March 22, 2010 with a new co-host and an all-star line-up of celebrities. Over the years, many of the stars have noticed that training and competing in the show produced weight loss and fitter bodies, highlighting that dance is both a fun and effective fitness activity.

Among this year’s celebrity contestants is the fit 31-year-old ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews who previously danced with the University of Florida’s Dazzlers dance team and 80-year-old astronaut Buzz Aldrin who took Arthur Murray classes when he was younger.

Past celebrities that have lost weight while training on Dancing with the Stars include Kelly Osborne, Donnie and Marie Osmond, and Jennie Garth.

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Some of the many types of classic dance on the show include the Tango, Cha-Cha, Foxtrot, Mambo, Rumba, Salsa, and the Waltz. All dances raise the heart rate through movement, tones and tightens the major muscle groups of the body, improves stamina, and can burn between 300-500 calories an hour.

Other health benefits to dancing include stress reduction, increased energy, lowering the risk of coronary heart disease and blood pressure, and possibly reducing the risk of dementia. There is also the social aspect of dance, that can relieve depression and anxiety symptoms.

Choosing a dance step is just as much about personality, so if participating in dancing for health benefits, choose one that you enjoy or that meets some of your fitness goals. Ballroom dances strengthens and tones the legs and body while increasing flexibility and balance. Belly dancing can help with abdominal core muscles to ease lower back pain. Salsa dancing builds endurance and stamina and burns the most calories in an hour – approximately 420 based on a 150-pound person.

For those who want a “Dancing with the Stars” workout at home, there are several options to choose from, including “Latin Cardio Dance”, “Dance off the Pounds”, and Julianne Hough’s Cardio Ballroom.

As for the new season of contestants, time will tell if they also become fitter and trimmer as a result of the show. Buzz Aldrin is already saying (about his training), “Walking on the moon was a piece of cake. This is a challenge!”

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