Just Dance

group of happy young people dancing and spraying at the beach on  beautiful summer sunset

Dancing is such a fun activity and as it turns out is packed with benefits for you and your family – both physical and psychological!

Here are a few reasons to get out on the dance floor or groove on your own kitchen floor.

Psychological Benefits

Reduces depression and anxiety – Dancing has the potential to lift your mood and help reduce depression and anxiety while boosting self-esteem, body image, coping ability, and general well-being. When you dance endorphin levels rise which are the bodies “good mood” neurotransmitters.

Boosts memory – Studies have shown that dance may help boost memory and prevent the development of dementia as we age. Aerobic exercise can reverse volume loss in the part of the brain that controls memory. This structure is known as the hippocampus which as we age naturally shrinks and leads to impaired memory or dementia.

Stress reduction – Who doesn’t want to lower their stress? Several studies have shown that dance has the power to reduce stress.

Social connection – Dance classes provide great opportunities to meet new people and form meaningful connections. Positive relationships are super important for our health and being engaged socially leads to increased happiness, reduced stress, and a stronger immune system.

Physical Benefits

Improves flexibility – Dancers frequently do exercises that specifically work on flexibility because of the importance of flexibility for movement. By improving flexibility, a person can help avoid injury and lead to improved range of motion especially as someone becomes stronger.

Gives love to your heart – If you are at risk for cardiovascular disease, dance is a great activity as it can be a great aerobic exercise by getting your heart rate up.

Weight loss and muscle tone and strength – Another study that looked at dance and weight loss showed that a program of aerobic dance training is just as helpful and was still effective at increasing aerobic power when compared to cycling and jogging. While dancing is an aerobic activity, dance also includes difficult postures or jumps that provides the muscles with resistance which is what is needed to develop strength and tone in the muscles. The added bonus for weight loss is that to maintain muscle the body needs to burn more calories to maintain that level of strength and tone. This translates as an increased resting metabolic rate which means the body burns more calories daily.

Better balance – The Journal of Aging and Physical Activity demonstrated that dancing, specifically tango in this study, resulted in improved balance in aging adults. As dancing requires good posture, movement transitions, and possible fast movement, engaging in frequent dancing may help improve stability and increase control over your body. Other studies have demonstrated similar results, even for frail elderly people using jazz, ballroom, folk, and a series of slow low-impact dance movements. Improvements in gait, walking speed, and reaction time, as well as cognitive and fine motor performance are just some of the results from these studies.

Helps posture – Many people spend hours hunched over at desk which leads to a hurt spine and possible back aches. Those long hours also have the potential to increase stress, limit proper breathing, and can even impact confidence negatively as the body affects our mental state. Dancing, however, encourages good posture and because the body is good at remembering your posture will improve in every day life.

Energy increase – Dancing has the potential to increase your energy level and improve physical performance according to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. This study was done with people who took a weekly dance program.

Improved kinesthetic awareness – Kinesthetic awareness is what allows a person to understand where the body is in space. Dancing can help strengthen this awareness as the body is constantly moving in space doing different movements.

Children, adults, and elders can benefit from dance. To read more about the benefits explore the resources and references section and then hit the dance floor. See you out there!

Resources and References:
Everyday Health – 9 Health Benefits of Dance
Berkley Wellness – The Many Health Benefits of Dancing
Women’s Health – Get Into the Groove: The Benefits of Dance
Stanford – Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter
Denver Post – The many health benefits of dancing
Health Guidance – Health Benefits of Dance
National Dance Education Organization – Standards for Dance in Early Childhood
Livestrong.com – The Benefits of Dance for Kids
AgingCare.com – 6 Health Benefits of Dancing
Albuquerque Journal – Studies show mental, physical, emotional benefits of dance
Psychology Today – Why is Dancing so Good for your Brain?

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