Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Health Benefits of Dancing

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 will also help improve your physical and mental health. It is great exercise that gets your mind and muscles working no matter who you are. With so many styles from Ballet to Ballroom Dancing, it’s easy to find a dance class and get started. Enjoy your favorite past time while gaining all of these great benefits with every step you take.

  • Increased Strength and 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 will help prevent illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression and reduce the risk of osteoporosis as your bones become stronger.
  • Boost Memory- When you exercise, the levels of chemicals in your brain that encourage nerve cells to grow is 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.
  • Improve Flexibility- To get the most out of your dance moves, it helps to consistently stretch your muscles. Start with some simple, at home stretches and don’t push your body beyond what it can handle to keep from hurting yourself. Soon, you will notice the stretches will become easier and you will not be experiencing as much soreness or joint pain after dancing as you may have experienced when you started. Over time, your flexibility and agility will increase and you will notice you have better overall coordination.
  • Balance Better –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.
  • Strengthen Your Heart- 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. Your heart rate will stay steady longer and you will not have the feeling of being out of breath as the condition of your heart and lungs improves.
  • 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.
  • Diminish Depression- Learning to dance is an accomplishment that everyone can achieve. Not everyone believes that they are capable of achieving it so once you start dancing and begin to see how quickly you improve, your confidence and self-esteem naturally increase, both on and off the dance floor.
  • 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.
  • Social Improvement- Everybody enjoys meeting new people and dancing provides a fun environment to meet people who have the same interest as you- they want to learn how to dance! 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.

As you can see, dance is a fun and exciting way to become and stay the healthiest you possible. With the holiday season right around the corner, dancing is a great way to stay in shape! Start dancing today!

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