When Partying Becomes Exercise

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Make your way into any gym and there’s sure to be a slew of dancing classes on the docket. From Zumba to Jazzercise, and even more traditional forms such as Waltz and Tango, dance provides a fun and social environment for people to get a solid workout in.

In 2008, research revealed that ballet dancers were in better shape than international swimmers. A later study published in the Journal of Physical Education in 2013 found that dancing in general increases muscle flexibility and range of motion, and can help to improve balance and coordination by increasing core strength.

If there’s one knock against prototypical dance fitness classes like Zumba, it’s that they’ve begun to grow boring, no longer appealing as a novelty they once were. However, more and more companies are emerging that put a twist on this genre of fitness. The Vixen Workout gets people active while teaching pop-culture-famed dance moves like the Milkshake and the Kitten Stretch. BollyX has people move to the music and dance of Bollywood.

Another company with a unique take on dance classes is 305 Fitness. With locations in New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston, 305 Fitness brings a nightclub feel to their classes, which include a live DJ spinning different music during each session to keep participants on their toes.

“We don’t have a stale playlist,” Sadie Kurzban, the company’s founder, tells BTRtoday. “We take music very seriously, and our live DJs play unexpected, really wild, high-energy music that gets people going.”

Kurzban says that the classes at 305 tend to be more difficult than the average dance class, but are designed to get people going and keep them going for the long haul.

“These classes tend to be more challenging than your traditional dance workouts,” Kurzban says. “People usually think of dance as not the most challenging workout, but our workouts incorporate sports drills and high-intensity intervals, and they really become a head-to-toe, full body workout. It’s basically full cardio for an entire hour.”

One of the biggest benefits of high-intensity interval training is that participants perceive they’re working out less, when really their output is the same over shorter periods of time. Dancing has a similar effect, bringing a sense of fun to the exercise while developing a strong relationship between mind and body. Kurzban believes the environment at 305 Fitness encapsulates this connection, and helps people reach that next level of connection to their physical activity.

“We’ve created an open, non-judgmental environment where people can feel free to just be themselves and have a good time,” Kurzban says. “That’s why we keep the lights a little darker in the studio and the music pumping through your blood, because we want people feeling instead of thinking.”

Enjoying exercise is actually the genesis of 305 Fitness. As a student at Brown University, Kurzban recalls employing a stringent workout regimen that brought her solid results, but little happiness.

“I started to take dance, and I noticed what an amazing physical workout it was while also being so fun and so addictive,” she says.

Shortly afterward, Kurzban began teaching dance cardio classes herself, and the idea for 305 Fitness—named after Miami’s area code—spawned while she was at a nightclub with her friend.

“We were surrounded by the DJ and lights and in this amazing environment, so I thought to mesh these two worlds together, dancing and fitness under one roof,” she says.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Kurzban hopes the recreated nightclub vibe of 305 Fitness will bring more people in to let their hair down, enjoy themselves, and get their sweat on.

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