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Will Prancercise Actually Help You Lose Weight?

Jun 20, 2013
YouTube may be the greatest web-based invention of our lifetime. Not only can you find great recipes, do-it-yourself projects or cats with emotional problems, sometimes it gives us something like Prancercise. Never heard of Prancercise? No need to worry...check it out here. The video brings up a couple of questions. One, is she serious? And two, does it work? We can't answer the first, but we'll take a look at the second.

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What is It?

Prancercise, as described by the inventor Johanna Rohrback, is "a springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse's gait." If you remember back in the day, jazzercise was an actual thing. Basically, it's a low impact, low to moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise that seemingly makes you prance around. Pretty much anyone can do it.

If you check out the second video, you'll see that Johanna uses ankle weights for her workout. This adds some intensity and resistance to the workouts, and does give you some benefit. I would compare it to the old "Sit and Be Fit" workouts from public television if you can remember those.

Does it Work?


The effectiveness of Prancercise is what seems to be called into question most often (well, besides "is she for real?"). As a fitness professional, I am totally for any and all exercise (regardless of what fanciful name you give it) that gets your heart rate up and gets you moving. Prancercise can do this, so long as you give it some effort. While it's not my favorite exercise routine, or one I would recommend my fit and athletic clients, it can be useful if you have limited mobility or want a low impact exercise, specifically if you are coming off of a surgery or have some other condition that limits your ability to be active.

For Real?

Prancercise is not going to get you athletically conditioned. It's not going to make you a better athlete or help you lose pounds fast. It is, however, a fun way to act silly, increase your heart rate a little bit, and help you get back into the swing of things if you are out of shape or have a mobility limitation. I'm not poking fun of Ms. Rohrback. If Prancercising helps her get out, get active, and live a healthy lifestyle, I'm all for it. If you fancy trying Prancercising, I'm all for it, too. I would recommend, however, that you work towards being even more active and exercising at higher intensities and for more prolonged periods. It's a great way to build up to higher level exercise, and remember, any exercise is good exercise!

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Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous professional, collegiate and amateur athletes across many different fields, including professional and arena football players, Mixed Martial Artists, elite runners, international soccer players, and more. 

Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA, as well as the owner and operator of Funky Fitness PA, a personal training studio, in home personal training and personalized fitness planning service. Ryan's work has been featured across the US and the globe, working with clients in all facets of life. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can check Ryan out on Facebook or follow him on Twitter, or you can reach him at funkytimefitness@gmail.com.




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