How Many Calories Does Dancing Burn?

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Even fun activities can help you use up more energy. Find out what calorie-burning effects you can expect from dancing.

As an example, some rough estimations are that the average person can burn around 216 to 371 calories by doing aerobic dancing for 30 minutes.

Something to note is that your calorie-burning effects can vary a lot from dance to dance. Even the same dancing style can offer different results depending on how fast you do it.

Additionally, you want to keep in mind that your weight will influence the estimations a lot.

Burning 216 calories during 30 minutes of aerobic dancing is the estimation for a 125-pound (56 kg) person.

On the flip side, the 371 calories are the estimation for a 215-pound (97 kg) person doing the same dancing workout.

I will also go over more in-depth estimations for different body weights, time intervals, and dancing styles, what factors influence your results, and how to burn more calories with dancing.

Biggest factors in calories burned with dancing

Many people want to know exactly how many calories activities like dancing burn. This is to balance the numbers with the calories in food (even though these are not all the same for weight loss).

Unfortunately, it is very hard to predict exactly how much energy different activities will use up.

At the same time, it can still be worth finding out what details influence how many calories you burn while dancing.

This can help make your estimations just a bit more accurate and can make it clear how you can get the most out of your dancing workouts.

Some of these details that influence your energy usage while dancing include:

  • Weight: You burn calories throughout the day to keep yourself alive and move around. These things typically require more energy for people that weigh more.
  • Muscle mass: People of the same body weights can have different ratios of fat vs muscle. This is relevant because muscle tends to burn more calories while dancing than the same weight in body fat.
  • Intensity: Another thing that influences how much energy your movements require is how fast you move. By dancing at a faster speed, you will burn more calories.
  • Dance style: Something similar to the previous point is that different dancing styles allow different intensities. Some styles burn a lot more calories than others.

Hidden calorie burning from dancing

Another point that makes it harder to estimate what results you can get from dancing is that the calorie-burning effects are not necessarily limited to during the workouts.

More specifically, there is something called afterburn. This comes down to burning some extra calories for some amount of time (typically not more than 72 hours) after you stop dancing.

The condition for making afterburn happen is that you need to work out intensely enough. That means some dancing styles will be better for this than others.

Even so, afterburn is worth mentioning to make it clear that calorie-burning estimations are far from perfect.

Chart of dancing calorie-burning estimations

The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention has a cheat sheet where they mention that dancing can burn between 3.5-7 calories per minute or more than 7 calories per minute depending on the intensity and dance style (1).

Luckily, you can get more precise estimations too. There are these numbers called MET values that estimate (or sometimes measure if there are studies) how intense certain activities are.

You can use these MET values in the formula below to roughly estimate how many calories an activity burns during the workout.

Formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute

The METs for dancing vary a lot between sources and dancing styles. More specifically, in one source, METs vary from 3 at slow ballroom dancing to 11.3 at competitive ballroom dancing (2).

In the first table below, you can find estimations for how many calories people of different body weights burn in different time intervals when doing aerobic dancing at a moderate pace.

After that, you can find a table that compares the energy you use during different dancing styles.

Something to note again is that you should not take these numbers too precisely. The MET formula does include many details that do influence how many calories you burn with dancing.

Additionally, to get an idea of what all these numbers mean for your lifestyle, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contains about 87 calories (3).

Calories burned with dancing per time interval

Being able to put a number of calories burned in certain time frames is helpful for dancing.

Weight Person
1 Minute15 Minutes30 Minutes45 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds
(56 kg)
7 calories108 calories216 calories323 calories431 calories
155 Pounds
(70 kg)
9 calories134 calories267 calories401 calories535 calories
185 Pounds
(83 kg)
11 calories160 calories319 calories479 calories638 calories
215 Pounds
(97 kg)
12 calories185 calories371 calories556 calories742 calories
Chart of calories burned with general aerobic dancing

Calories burned with dancing per dancing style

Additionally, you may be interested in seeing how different dancing styles compare in terms of calorie burning. These estimations are for 30-minute dancing sessions.

Dancing Style
Weight Person
Fast Ballroom Ballet, Modern, Or JazzGeneral Dancing
(Disco, Folk, Line)
125 Pounds (56 kg)162 calories201 calories230 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)201 calories249 calories286 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)240 calories297 calories341 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)279 calories345 calories396 calories
Calories burned per 30 minutes of dancing with different dancing styles

Ways to burn more calories with dancing

How many calories you burn while dancing is not necessarily limited to the numbers above. You can increase how effective your dancing sessions are in this area.

First of all, you can focus on dancing more intensely if your choice of style allows it. The faster movements will require more energy from your body.

You could even aim for the afterburn effect mentioned above.

Secondly, you can make it so you have to carry around more weight.

The more realistic way to do this is by building some muscle with resistance training workouts. These will also burn extra calories.

In theory, you could also consider wearing a light weighted vest while doing certain dancing styles.

Lastly, you can also make your dancing sessions longer if your schedule allows it. As long as you don’t overtrain, this will generally burn more calories.

Man and woman burning calories by dancing

How long does it take to see results from dancing?

Burning calories sounds nice but you are likely interested in the consequences of this. It is true that dancing can be good for weight loss.

However, you need to keep in mind that your habits in areas like the things you eat will influence your weight loss results a lot.

That being said, if you assume you can get to a point where all the calorie burning from dancing comes from fat, you can get a few interesting numbers.

A 185-pound (83 kg) person can burn an extra 957 calories or about 0.27 pounds (0.12 kg) by dancing for 30 minutes three times a week.

If this person keeps up the same dancing routine for four weeks, they can burn an extra 3828 calories or about 1.09 pounds (0.48 kg) of body fat.

Keep in mind that as you lose weight, the same dancing routines will also start burning fewer calories. You will have to keep making positive changes until you hit your target weight.

Should you do dancing for calorie burning?

Dancing is not the most effective workout routine for burning calories but it can still offer nice results. Especially if you choose one of the more intense dancing styles.

Additionally, a benefit of dancing is that many people find it fun to do.

This can help you stay consistent which is important for burning calories. The difference between one or two hours of working out a week plays a big role in the long term.

If you decide to focus on dancing to burn calories, it can still be smart to implement resistance training exercises to build muscle too.

The extra mass you build will make your dancing sessions more effective in this area.

Lastly, if you want all the calorie burning from dancing to come from fat, you need to make sure your habits in other lifestyle habits like diet are good enough too.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.