Background: Recently, we undertook a laboratory-based assessment of Latin dance using the criterion-referenced activity-specific objective measurement method of combined triaxial accelerometry and heart rate telemetry. As this style of dance is generally performed in asocial context, further investigation is warranted as only one previous study has attempted to evaluate the physiological demand of Latin partner-based social dancing within an ecologically valid environment.
Purpose: To investigate the physiological and psychological responses to Latin partner-based social dancing to salsa music when performed as a self-selected activity under free-living conditions.
Methods: Following approval by the Faculty Ethics Committee at Kingston University, 18 non-professional Latin dancers (11 women and 7 men; age 40 ± 9 years; body mass 66.7 ± 9.8 kg; stature 168 ± 9 cm; dance experience 6 ± 5 year; dance frequency 5 ± 3 h · week–1) performed a laboratory-based graded exercise test for the determination of maximal oxygen uptake and maximal heart rate. The dancers then attended two Latin social dancing sessions in established salsa venues in London, UK, over a 2-week period. Each session was 2 h in length, and a recovery period of at least 48 h was taken between sessions. Physiological data were collected using a wrist-worn Actigraph wGT3X+ accelerometer (ActiGraph, Pensacola, FL, USA) with accompanying heart rate monitor and were processed using previously validated dance-specific energy expenditure and step count prediction models. Perceived benefits and barriers of Latin dance were assessed via the exercise benefits/barriers scale, and measurement of state-intrinsic motivation while dancing was undertaken using the intrinsic motivation inventory.
Results: During 2 h of dance, no difference (t16 = –0.29, P = 0.77) was observed between female and male dancers in total time spent dancing, which was 66.3 ± 10.2% of the session time or 80 ± 12 min.Female dancers expended a significantly lower (t16 = –2.57, P < 0.05) total energy expenditure while dancing when compared to their male counterparts(479 ± 125 kcal vs. 651 ± 159 kcal). Total step count during dance was 9643 ± 1735 step with no difference (t16 = –0.39, P = 0.71) revealed between sexes. For both females and males, the dance-related motivator of primary importance was “interest-enjoyment”while the highest rated perceived benefit of dance was “psychological outlook”. No significant correlations (all P > 0.05) were observed between the physiological and psychological responses investigated.
Discussion: In agreement with our previous work,Latin dance, when performed under free-living conditions,is a physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity that fosters interest, enjoyment and a positive psychological outlook. Individuals seeking to become more active through leisure-time pursuits could take part in this style of dance to meet the current guidelines for physical activity engagement for the maintenance of physical and psychosocial health.
Conclusion: Latin partner-based social dancing to salsa music is a holistic activity with the potential to positively affect both physical and mental wellness.