Characterizing the Aerobic and Anaerobic Energy Costs of Polynesian Dances

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This study characterized both aerobic and anaerobic energy expenditure (EE) for several Polynesian dances in a group of experienced professional Polynesian dancers. Thirteen men and 17 women were tested using indirect calorimetry to assess aerobic EE (and converted to METs), and fingertip blood lactate to estimate anaerobic EE, during both resting and dancing activities. Total EE was then computed as the sum of both aerobic and anaerobic activity energy expenditure (AEE, or EE above resting). One sample t-tests compared mean MET values for each type of dance to the 3-MET and 6-MET thresholds for moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA), respectively. Mean MET values for all dances, except the Maori poi balls dance (Mean±SD: 3.7±1.1 METs; P=0.340), were significantly >3.0 METs (5.9±3.1 METS; P=0.005 for Maori haka; 6.5±2.4 METs for Hawaiian hula; 6.6±1.2 METs for Samoan sasa; 9.6±1.5 METs for Samoan slap; 8.3±1.8 METs for Tahitian; 6.0±2.3 METs for Tongan; 7.0±2.6 METs for Fijian; P<0.001). Mean METs for Samoan slap and Tahitian were also significantly >6.0 METs (P=0.002 and P<0.001, respectively). Aerobic and anaerobic AEE contributed an average of 83.4% and 16.6%, respectively, across all Polynesian dances, with Hawaiian hula being the most aerobic (88.7%) and Samoan slap being the least aerobic (74.2%). Thus, the Polynesian dances tested not only met the current MVPA intensity guidelines (i.e., ≥3.0 METs), each dance also had a large anaerobic EE. These data suggest that Polynesian dancing is an appropriate mode of aerobic exercise for health promotion and disease prevention.




Zhu, Wei, David E. Lankford, Joel Reece, and Daniel P. Heil. "Characterizing the Aerobic and Anaerobic Energy Costs of Polynesian Dances." International Journal of Exercise Science 11, no. 4 (January 2018): 1158-1172.
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