Review of the best 'dancersize' DVDs to keep the public losing weight and improving fitness into spring.
The latest winter run of TV celebrity dance shows has come to an end with the final of ITV’s Dancing on Ice and the BBC’s Sport Relief does Strictly Come Dancing, and the impact of their popularity has been significant. More and more people are taking up dancing as a form of exercise, and new classes are springing up all over the country. The government is even investing an extra £5.5m to encourage more young people to take up dancing.
But now the shows have finished, how can people help maintain their enthusiasm for the dance craze and start looking great for spring? As well as joining classes, they can do their bit at home with ‘dancersize’ DVDs, using a hybrid of dance and exercise to lose weight and keep fit.
Chartered physiotherapist Sammy Margo, who used to be an aerobics instructor, has reviewed five dancersize DVDs based on their overall effectiveness and how safe they are for users. Sammy says, “Home exercise DVDs are a fun and cost-effective way to burn calories and improve fitness, and they can be done in the privacy of your own home. It’s important that you choose a DVD that’s suitable for your personal level of fitness, as some dance moves can be challenging for beginners.
“The dance-based DVDs I looked at have health warnings and introductions giving tips and advice before you start to exercise. They also have warm up and cool down sections, and to avoid injury these should be done every time you use the workout.
“If you’re unsure what’s appropriate for you, it’s best to take up a dance class supervised by a professional rather than risk an injury by launching yourself into a DVD workout that may not be suitable for your individual abilities. It’s difficult to tell from the boxes, as exercise DVDs have no classification to tell buyers what level of fitness they’re aimed at. I think this is something that needs to be addressed ASAP to aid people’s choices before they spend their money and run the risk of injury.”
Ministry of Sound: Pump it up – Dancemix: 4 / 5 *BEST BUY*
They say: There’s nothing better for losing weight, keeping your body in shape and toned than a great dance routine. Having fun is what this workout is all about.
Sammy says: This is a really good exercise DVD with a great music track. It’s fun and high-energy, and uses some simple moves to start you off. The routines are well structured, with the instructor doing the exercises first and the girls following, so that you have a chance to get a hang of the moves. The exercises get more intense as the workout progresses and the instructor considers the safety aspects throughout. I particularly liked the motto ‘If in doubt, strut it out’, which encourages you to keep moving even if you get lost or tired during the routines. The only downside is that if you don’t have good co-ordination, you may find some of the more complex dance moves difficult.
Risk of injury – low
Dance Floor Workout: 2 / 5
They say: The regime is designed to fit into your life. Regular use will encourage higher fitness levels, boost energy and help you feel great.
Sammy says: This DVD is a combination of dance music videos and an exercise session. The format is a split screen, with the left hand side showing music videos while the instructor works through exercise moves on the right. The name and packaging are quite deceptive, as the exercises don’t relate to the dancing in the videos. You can choose between 20/30/40/60 minute workouts, which is good for building up your fitness level and stamina. One major problem with this DVD is that the camera zooms in on the instructor, so you can’t get a clear picture of what she’s doing with her whole body. Also, many of the exercises aren’t really for beginners, as you need a basic entry level of fitness and flexibility.
Risk of injury – some
Strictly Come Dancersize: 2.5 / 5
They say: Dancing gets you fit and active. Everyone fell in love with Strictly Come Dancing; we took some of those moves and transferred them into something that everyone can do at home.
Sammy says: With this DVD, the main phrase that kept springing to mind was ‘A little less conversation, a little more action please!’ If you’re passionate about ballroom dancing and want to understand the ins and outs, then this would be good for you, but if you just want to start working out then there’s too much chat. The instruction is more like you’re being spoken at, which isn’t very involving or motivating. The workouts use dance moves from the cha cha cha, salsa, quickstep, jive and samba, but they all take far too long to get going.
Risk of injury – low
A Fame Dance Workout: 3 / 5
They say: Dance is the best way to lose weight because it’s great fun and you don’t even realise you’re working out. Lose weight, get fit, and tone up.
Sammy says: I thought that, because of the Fame film and TV show, this DVD was going to be really exciting, but the exercises are ultimately a bit dull. It’s a typical workout with a bit of an edge, using dance as an undertone to a moderate-impact aerobics class. The instruction is good and clear and the workout is well structured. Some moves are more suitable for people with an intermediate level of fitness – the girls demonstrating the exercises are professional dancers and make some of the more complicated moves look easier than they really are.
Risk of injury – some / high
Dirty Dancing – Official Dance Workout: 2 / 5
They say: Learn four fun routines fashioned after the movie.
Sammy says: There isn’t really enough introduction on this DVD, and it pretty much goes straight into the warm up dance steps. It simplifies the moves so it would be good for people who are new to dance in that sense, but when the workout routines start they are very fast paced and could be hard to keep up with for beginners. The names of the dance steps flash up on screen, which is a nice touch and the progression of routines is steady as your fitness increases. But overall the workout is a little disjointed and doesn’t seem to know who it’s aimed at.
Risk of injury – low / some
Notes to editors
1. For more information, please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 6628. Out of hours call Becky Darke on 07900 160349.
2. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK's 49,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants. For previous releases visit www.csp.org.uk
3. ‘Strictly for everyone’, Manchester Evening News, 19 February 2008
‘TV show fuels boom in dance classes’, Sunderland Echo, 17 March 2008
4. ‘New funding for dancing classes’, BBC News online, 17 March 2008