Whether you flaunt your every move on the dance floor or sway to your favorite songs in the car, dance is an activity that everybody enjoys, in one way or another. Luckily, dancing is something that will not only bring a smile to your face, but can also help improve your physical and mental health. It is great exercise that gets your mind and muscles working no matter who you are.
When you move to certain rhythms, your body becomes synchronised with them, which is great for releasing all kinds of neurochemicals, some of which can help to inhibit all those things that make you feel stressed.
With so many different ways to dance from jumping around with the kids to some good music, shaking it out at a party or dance lessons, you’ll be gaining all these great benefits with every step that you take.
# 1: Increase Strength and Overall Health – Dancing is exercise so, naturally, it will assist in strengthening your bones and muscles. As your strength increases, you will have more energy to continue dancing. Your increased level of physical activity and exercise can help prevent illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease and reduce the risk of osteoporosis as your bones become stronger.
#2: Boost Memory – When you exercise, the levels of chemicals in your brain which encourage nerve cells to grow are increased and since dancing requires you to remember various steps and sequences, your brain power is boosted which helps to improve your memory. Dancing incorporates several brain functions at once- kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional. Utilizing all of these at the same time can further increase your neural activity, helping to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
#3: Improve Flexibility – Stretching before and after dancing is very important to getting the most out of your movements and avoiding injury. As you continue dancing you will be stretching more consistently and will notice how each stretch will become easier to complete. As the stretches become easier, you will be able to go farther into each stretch, creating longer lines as you permanently lengthen your muscles and become more and more flexible. With this increased flexibility you will notice you have a wider range of motion and your dancing will become much easier.
#4: Increase Balance – In order to execute each move and sequence correctly, you will need to be able to maintain a strong center of gravity. As you learn each movement and begin to gain increased flexibility and strength, your posture, balance and spatial awareness will naturally begin to improve, making each step easier for you to complete.
#5: Healthy Heart and Lungs – Dancing is great cardiovascular exercise. As you continue to dance and notice your strength and grace improving, you will witness an increase in your stamina.
#6: Reduce Stress – When you are dancing, your body is fully in that moment, focused on the music and your surroundings. Being around friends or that someone special to enjoy dancing to your favorite music can help you focus on strictly the moment you are in and aid in reducing the amount of cortisol your brain produces (the hormone that is associated with stress), lowering your stress and tension levels.
#7: Diminish Depression – You appear to get a much bigger release of endorphins when you dance than during other forms of exercise; it also connects with the emotional centres in the brain. For many people, dancing prompts an emotional release – often that’s uncomplicated happiness, while for some it can make them cry. It’s cathartic – a letting go of pent-up emotions.
# 8: Lose Weight – The consistent movement that dancing provides utilizes multiple muscle groups at the same time, helping to tone your entire body. A study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that an exercise program of aerobic dance training is just as effective as jogging or cycling in order to improve body composition and aerobic strength. You may even notice a natural shift in your eating habits as you begin to feel healthier from your dancing, which also will aid in weight management.
# 9: Increase Social Improvement & Confidence – Everybody enjoys meeting new people. Dancing provides a fun environment to meet people who have the same interest as you. ! This type of environment is perfect to either utilize your social skills if you are outgoing or to help strengthen your social skills if you have a quiet personality. Dancing is a great way to meet new friends and improves your social outlook while in an atmosphere where you can feel safe and comfortable.
So put on your dancing shoes, put on your favourite dance music and dance away with some smiles and laughs ! You deserve to have some fun !
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !