Contemporary, street and swing dancing can burn more calories per hour than running, swimming or cycling, University of Brighton research has found.
A study of London's City Academy students also found that street dancers covered as much ground in a 30-minute session as a 3.6km jog, while all forms of dance produced a mental boost.
"Dance not only appears to increase positive and reduce negative emotions, which are typical effects of exercise, but we also found that dancing actually reduced feelings of fatigue too," says Dr Nick Smeeton from the Department of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Brighton.
"People may be familiar with runners' high and there appears to be a similar effect after dancing too. We have seen that dancing improves your emotional state. Furthermore, it seems to have an energising effect. Add in the known benefits of social interaction you get whilst dancing and it becomes a powerful way to improve your health and wellbeing."
The research measured the exertions of ballet, ballroom, contemporary, salsa, street and swing dance students between the ages 24 and 38.