Move to The Music is a line dance approach to exercise

Bonnie Schoenfelder

We all know we should be exercising, but wanting to is a different story. But what if your exercise regimen was the highlight of your week—a chance not just to get active but to make some friends? Line dancing is great exercise combined with fun, social activity.

Line dancing is really just choreographed dance moves that you do in a group, without a partner. The “Electric Slide” is a classic example. The bonus health benefits come with having a supportive group learning together.

It’s a sneaky way to get exercise in. You’re exercising, but you’re not labeling it as exercise because you’re just having so much fun. And it’s good for your brain because you are learning patterns. The memory benefits, particularly in older adults, come from the fact that dance requires us to remember patterns, so it’s muscle memory in addition to cognitive memory. It can keep you human, keeps you healthy, in shape and fit. It’s not cardio intensive like a Zumba class, and it uses more playful moves akin to the Macarena, so most anyone can do it.

“Something fun can really count as exercise,” says Terri Lipman, a professor from the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. “Yes, it’s dance. Yes, it’s fun, but it is efficient in improving cardiovascular health and providing activity.” Her research shows that line dancing gets heart rates pumping enough to count as moderate exercise.

You can go to the gym, but often people don’t look very happy there. In line dancing classes, however, everyone is smiling. There is such enjoyment that is part of the music and part of the rhythm, and dancing is almost innate in humans. Research also suggests that making exercise both fun and social is a key to creating a habit that sticks.

The fall session runs through Dec. 17, and the winter session will run from Jan. 14 through March 10, Tuesdays from 4:15 to 6:16 p.m. at the SaddleBrooke One fitness center aerobics room. The class is limited to 15. To enroll, contact Bonnie Schoenfelder at 952-897-0291 or schoenf.bl@gmail.com.