Central heating for grown ups

Freelance environmentalist Nik Holliman shows how consenting adults can keep each other warm this winter and use up their pent up energy.

Ever wondered about the rate at which you burn-up energy at On Bouge! or any other dance night out?

Ballroom forms of dancing are considered to be light or moderate exercise and result in energy expenditure rates of 16.7kJ/min. The 'cha-cha', country dancing and the twist are heavy exercise with an energy expenditure of 33.5 kJ/min. Ballet dancing by the way is described as heavy work with an expenditure of 31.0 - 41.4 kJ/min.

Athletes working at maximum capacity reach expenditure rates around 83.7kJ/min although the actual time for a performance is quite short. An On Bouge! session involves considerably more energy expenditure than competition athletics. Most On Bougettes probably burn up 3.0MJ at a dance compared to the 0.3MJ for an athlete running a middle distance race.

The interest in dance aerobic exercise is supported by stories that patients recovering from heart disease in Eire are being recommended to go to ceilidhs in order to recuperate. Small wonder also that all those writhing bodies make the dance hall so hot. If your heating packs up in Winter why not go to On Bouge!

Now for the musicians :

   Musician                         Energy expenditure rate
   woodwind players                 8.4 kJ/min
   accordionists                    9.2 kJ/min
   Hurdy-gurdyists                  10.0 kJ/min
   double bass and piano players    10.5 kJ/min
   cellists                         10.9 kJ/min
   violinists                       11.3 kJ/min
   drummers                         17.2 kJ/min

All these figures do not serve as accurate descriptions for every individual's energy expenditure but they are guides based on accurate measurements of different people engaged in each activity.

You will notice that the basic unit of time taken here for a dance or playing music is the minute. The Systeme International unit of time is the second. It is not used here because it is easier to relate to a minute of dancing or playing than one second's worth. Just divide the figures by 60 if you are a pedant.

By the way, if you have an idea what you burn up at a dance you can work out your food intake in order to replace energy and stay fit. Most food packaging bears details of the food's energy values and this can be used for your life-saving calculations

Nik HOLLIMAN