Physiological and perceptual responses to Latin partner-based social dance

Domene, Pablo A., Moir, Hannah. J., Pummell, Elizabeth and Easton, Chris. (2014) Physiological and perceptual responses to Latin partner-based social dance. Human Movement Science, 37, pp. 32-41. ISSN (print) 0167-9457


The purpose of this study was to investigate the physiological and perceptual responses to Latin partnered social dance to salsa music when performed as a self-selected activity within an ecologically valid setting. Eighteen non-professional adult Latin dancers undertook a laboratory-based graded exercise test for determination of maximal oxygen uptake and maximal heart rate. The dancers then attended two Latin partnered social dance sessions in established salsa venues in London, UK over a 2wk period. Physiological data were collected using a wrist-worn ActiGraph wGT3X+ accelerometer with accompanying heart rate monitor. Perceived benefits of dance were assessed via the Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale, and measurement of state intrinsic motivation during dance was undertaken using the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory. Total step count during 2h of dance was not different (t16=-.39, p=.71) between females and males (9643±1735 step); however, women expended a significantly lower (t16=-2.57, p<.05) total energy expenditure when compared to men (479±125 versus 651±159kcal). Dancers of both genders considered interest-enjoyment to be the motivator of primary importance. The highest rated perceived benefit of dance was psychological outlook. Latin partnered social dance to salsa music demands moderate to vigorous physical activity intensity levels, and further, fosters interest, enjoyment, and a positive psychological outlook among novice to advanced adult Latin dancers taking part primarily for leisure purposes. These findings may be of use for those interested in the efficacy of Latin social dancing as an expressive medium for the promotion of community health.

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