THE MORNING after the office Christmas party can be a painful time when remembering antics from the night before.

But new research suggests you may have reason to be proud of those cringe-making dance floor moves.

A new study by the University of Brighton has shown that dancing burns more calories than cycling, running, or swimming.

So even your most un-funky chicken - or malfunctioning robot - will have helped work off the calorific good cheer.

In fact, throwing some shapes like John Travolta at Casablanca or Pryzm would be likely to make bigger inroads into your waistline than waking up the next morning and going for a jog along the seafront.

The research was led by Dr Nick Smeeton and Dr Gary Brickley from the Department of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Brighton.

They concluded that participants in contemporary, street, and swing dance classes burned more calories in a 30 minute session than they would in the same period of cycling, running, or swimming.

In the 30 minute class, swing dancers burned an average of 293kcal as compared to 264kcal for running, 258kcal for football and 249kcal for swimming.

To ensure accurate and comparable data, the participants' weight, age and general fitness were taken into account.

As well as monitoring heart rates and physical exertion, the study also asked participants to describe their state of mind and found that dancing creates more of a “high” than other forms of exercise.

Dr Smeeton said: “Dance not only appears to increase positive and reduce negative emotions, which are typical effects of exercise, but we also found that dancing actually reduced feelings of fatigue too.”

He added: “We have seen that dancing improves your emotional state.

“Furthermore, it seems to have an energising effect. Add in the known benefits of social interaction you get whilst dancing and it becomes a powerful way to improve your health and well-being."

JP Omari, who owns Brighton’s Streetfunk dance studio, was unsurprised by the findings.

He said: “I’m not surprised, at Streetfunk you target every single part of the body and it improves energy and stamina too.”

He added: “It’s a lot more social than going to the gym, plus you get a real buzz every time you dance - it’s a high nothing can replicate.”

Fifteen students between the ages 24 to 38 took part in a series of dance classes as scientists measured heart rate, distance covered, energy expended and psychological states.