Zumba Time! Dancing May Reduce Heart Disease Risks

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A new study found that moderate-intensity dancing can lower a person’s risk of dying from heart disease, which disproportionately affects Latinos, Reuters reports.

101471044-1 The study included questions about frequency, duration, and intensity of dancing and walking over a four-week period. Only about 3,100 of the 48,000 people surveyed reported dancing of any intensity, and nearly two-thirds said they walked at any intensity.

In the study’s follow-up, heart disease had caused 1,714 deaths. People who reported moderate-intensity dancing and walking were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who did not.

“It is not surprising that moderate-intensity physical activity is protective against cardiovascular disease mortality,” lead author Dafna Merom of the University of Western Sydney in Australia told Reuters. “I actually was surprised that light-intensity dancing was not protective.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of U.S. death and the second-leading causes among U.S. Latinos (behind cancer). Latinos face high risk of heart disease due to higher rates of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

In the study, people who danced tended to be younger, have a lower body mass index, were less likely to have long-standing illnesses and got more overall physical activity than non-dancers.

“I would advise for those who find walking somewhat boring or those that like to challenge themselves to try dancing,” she said. “First, you can reach higher intensity than in walking while dancing, it may be for short intervals but this all adds up, and you get some of the benefits associated with vigorous-intensity physical activity.”

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