Introduction. Folk dance is a form of physical activity which helps develop the ability to use the whole body in a coordinated way with music, and folk dancers’ characteristics vary according to the particular type of dance practised in a given geographic region. The aims of the study were to evaluate the effects of 12-week folk dance training on blood oxidative stress level, lipids, lipoproteins, as well as muscle damage markers and to define some physical and physiological properties of folk dancers. Material and methods. Thirty-eight healthy male folk dancers aged 21-28 years having an average of 11 years of dance training experience voluntarily participated in the study. All of the physical and physiological measurements and the blood analysis were performed twice, before and after the training period which focused on different regional dances (Caucasus, Bar, Zeybek, Spoon Dance, Thracian dances, and Horon). The training was done 2 hours per day (a total of 10 hours a week), during a 12-week-long period. Results. All the blood parameters were found to be within the specified reference ranges. The training programme had no significant effect on the blood lipid profile, whereas it was found to have positive effects on body fat (p ≤ 0.012), peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak; p = 0.000), muscle damage markers (creatine kinase, Δ% = −19.6), and total antioxidant capacity (p ≤ 0.002). Conclusions. Regular folk dance training was found to have positive effects on body fat, VO2peak, blood total antioxidant capacity, and muscle damage markers. Based on these results, the community should be encouraged to perform folk dance as a recreational physical activity, and public awareness should be raised about the health benefits of practising folk dances.
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