"With dancing, you don't realize you are exercising," but getting down for an hour torches between 200 and 600 calories, says Susan Biali, MD, who is a trained flamenco dancer. Plus, it helps build strength, increase flexibility, and even slow the aging process. What's more, grooving with friends equals high-quality bonding timeand that can boost your mood in a big way. Here's how to host your own dance class and treat pals (and yourself) to a fun fitness change-up.
Dance option #1: Enlist an expert
Not everyone is born bouncing like Beyonce. Consider hiring a pro to teach you and your gang the latest moves. "This takes the pressure off people individually," Dr. Biali says. "Everyone is learning and making mistakes together, so each person feels less self-conscious." To score a top-notch teacher, ask your local gym or dance studio for a suggestion, or log on to dance-teachers.org. Had a great session? Bring your pro back for a weekly dance-off-the-pounds party.
Dance option #2: See it, shake it
If you can't swing an instructor or would rather keep things informal, pop in a DVD like Dance with Julianne: Just Dance! ($15; amazon.com) or Dancing with the Stars: Fat-Burning Cardio Dance ($15; amazon.com). These high-energy, easy-to-follow routines can help you blast fat and have lots of fun.
Dance option #3: Break out the games
Use your Kinect or Wii to dance your way to a great shape: We're loving Zumba Fitness (for Kinect for Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and PlayStation Move for the PlayStation 3, $40 to $50; amazon.com), Just Dance 2 (for Nintendo Wii, $40; amazon.com), and Michael Jackson The Experience (for Nintendo Wii, $50; ubi.com). Keep the guest list small to keep your calorie burn superhigh.
Create a killer playlist
Keep your heart pumping with the ultimate fat-blasting mix from New York City DJ Cheila Villarcheck it out here.