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Dance Fat and Blues Away

Written by Karen Andes

When weather or mood is discouraging, boogie down in your own living room. Give it an hour, and you'll burn 250-500 calories.

You want to sweat, but you can't make it to exercise class. Your spirits are low and you can't get psyched for a workout. You need to shed stress, but it's raining too hard for a walk.

Boogaloo around your living room, and you might discover that dancing is a great way to beat the blues — and much healthier than Prozac!

No matter if you don't know how to dance. All you need is room to move and your favorite tunes lined up like storms rolling off the Pacific. Pull the shades, ramp up the volume, turn off your mind and rock out!

Start with 5 to 8 minutes of easy, flowing motions. Don't jar your joints. No big kicks or wild arms.

Once you're warmed up, you have two choices: long and steady or fast and sweaty. If you want to burn fat, dance non-stop for another 45 minutes. Your pace should be vigorous enough to make you glow, but not so hard you can't talk or sing. Or, dance harder and faster for 30 minutes. Either way, the idea is to have so much fun you don't realize you're exercising.

Be sure to "slow dance" for another 5 to 10 minutes to bring your heart rate back to normal. Add slow, lengthening moves to stretch your muscles. (Remember muscles stretch best when they're warm.)

Now you've done your workout!

Depending on your size, how hard you dance and how fit you are, in 45 minutes to an hour, you'll burn 250 to 500 calories. If you find you're a dancing fool and want to become aerobically shipshape, dance three to five times a week.

Dance with imagination. If you have dreams of Broadway, ham it up with old show tunes. If you're dramatically inclined, use gestures and emotions to tell a story and be sure to express your heart. If you love rhythm, play your body parts like orchestra instruments. If costumes fill your fantasies, then by all means, dress up. Whatever you do, pour yourself into it and dance as if no one is watching.

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