Background Research interest in both partnered Latin dance and non-partnered Latin-themed aerobic dance has increased in recent years, likely a result of the gaining popularity of these types of instructor-led group classes among the mainstream dance and fitness audiences; however, the efficacy of these activities for the purposes of health promotion currently remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to simultaneously assess the physiological responses and psychological experiences during salsa dance and Zumba fitness in a community sample of physically inactive women. Methods Twenty-four participants, aged 22–56 years, visited the laboratory to perform a graded exercise test for determination of maximal oxygen uptake and maximal heart rate. The participants then attended two partnered salsa dance and two non-partnered Zumba fitness classes each in a counterbalanced order over a 2-week period. The 1-h classes were taught by certified instructors in established venues in the Royal Borough of Kingston and the surrounding communities of London, UK. Physiological data were collected using a wrist-worn ActiGraph wGT3X+ accelerometer with accompanying heart rate monitor and were processed using previously validated dance-specific techniques. Psychological experiences were measured via the Subjective Exercise Experiences Scale. Results There was a significantly higher (p < 0.001) total time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (51.2 ± 3.1 vs. 32.6 ± 5.9 min), total energy expenditure (411 ± 66 vs. 210 ± 46 kcal), and total step count (6773 ± 556 vs. 4108 ± 781 steps) during Zumba fitness when compared to salsa dance. Significant pre- to post-class improvements in positive well-being (p < 0.01, partial η2 = 0.41) and psychological distress (p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.72) were simultaneously observed for both salsa dance and Zumba fitness. Conclusion The acute responses to classes of partnered Latin dance and non-partnered Latin-themed aerobic dance suggest that in physically inactive women participation is indeed efficacious in terms of community-based physical activity and psychosocial health promotion.
- Physical activity
- Cultural dance