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10 Benefits Of Dancing For Your Overall Health

dancing benefits

As we grow old, some of us start developing a rather negative relationship with the mirror because it starts showing off our grey hairs, our body’s saggy parts, and the many lines on our faces that come with age.

However, you can improve the relationship you have with your mirror because neuroscientists have finally found an enjoyable way to slow down the aging process.

Dancing, yes, dancing can be a great way of supporting your physical and mental health and increase your over well – being. 

Dance classes have been a favorite hobby for people who want to stay in shape and increase their health and are easily accessible as many gyms are beginning to provide dance classes to their clients. 

How Does Dance Affect Your Life?

Dancing can improve your life, and people who dance tend to be more socially active, socialize more easily, and are more creative. Let’s name just a few benefits of dancing: reduced anxiety and stress, improved stamina, better heart health, and better memory. 

From virtual classes to some freestyle in your kitchen, here are the ten benefits of dancing that might make you feel like trying it:

1. Dancing is the number one exercise for slowing down the aging process

According to a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Journal about the Health Benefits of Dancing, physically active people can slow down their brain’s aging process. Neuroscientists behind this study say that dancing is the most effective physical activity. (1)

So, why is dancing the most effective exercise for slowing down the brain’s aging process?

According to Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, the lead author of the study, physical exercise has the effect of slowing down and even preventing the decline in both the mental and physical activity in the brain that comes with its natural aging process, so the benefits of dancing for seniors are enormous.  

In their study, they prove that 2 different types of physical activity – dancing and endurance training – both increase the brain’s area that declines over time as we age. But, only dancing has proved to be effective when it comes to changes in behavior due to the noticeable improvements in balance.

The researchers selected 52 elderly volunteers aged 63-80 years for the purpose of the study. Then, they divided them randomly into two groups, one group was assigned to join dance classes to experience the health benefits of dancing, and the other group joined the sports control group.

The dance group took dance lessons with a constant change of choreography, which moves they were asked to memorize. The program for the sports group, on the other hand, consisted of strength training, endurance training, and flexibility training.

The hippocampus area of the brain which is the most susceptible to decline because of the aging processes has increased in both groups. This area of the brain is also responsible for memory, balance, as well as learning.

But, only volunteers in the dance group had an increased volume of other subparts in the left hippocampus. Moreover, only dancing had increased the volume of one part in the right hippocampus, called the subiculum.  

This study proved that dancing, especially when followed by a change in choreography, is indeed superior to repetitive physical activities such as walking or cycling.   

Dr. Rehfeld further explains that they provided the participants in the dance group with different music genres. They changed the dance routine every second week, introducing new arm patterns, formations, steps, rhythms, and different speed levels. (2)

2. Losing weight

Coming to dancing classes can have many positive effects on your body, and in combination with a good diet regime and frequency, your body will look good in 1 to 4 weeks. Still, this depends on your personality and how much weight you want to lose. Some may enjoy going to the gym or running, but dancing is another enjoyable way of losing weight while listening to good music in a dance studio. While dancing, you can burn around 5 to 10 calories per minute, but that depends on your intensity and speed. Zumba dancing is beneficial for the whole body, and it is a great exercise for maintaining healthy body weight.

3. Better heart and lung health

While dancing, your heart and breathing rate may increase, and it can be great for people who are at risk of cardiovascular disease. It is one of the best sports activities to keep your lungs and heart-healthy from a very young age, and some studies have found that people who took dancing classes and are over the age of 40 have 50 % lower chances of dying from cardiovascular diseases.

4. Improved balance

Balance is one of the most important things for athletes, and the focus on good posture and core strengthening in dance can improve your balance. You are physically aware of your body all the time, and this makes you will more aware of your body moving within the space. One study found that years of dancing may change how your nervous system coordinates muscles for walking and balancing motions. Therefore, dancing can help coordination, strengthen our reflexes, and facilitate the connections between mind and body.

5. Great exercise for the brain

It is an excellent mental exercise, especially Tap dancing. It can increase your focus while you change the moves and increase your memory when you learn new steps, moves, and patterns which you need to recall. It can prevent dementia and impaired memory in old age.

6. Improved flexibility

You can easily reduce your body stiffness while making the arabesques and plies that ballet dancers practice. When you have better flexibility, you can reduce the joint pain and aching that usually appears after exercising. In addition, better flexibility reduces the risk of injury while doing some type of physical activity (not just dance) and can help you maneuver your body in multiple positions, which can help avoid injury.   

7. Increased energy

If you have a hard time waking up in the morning, dancing classes may help you to increase your energy in the long and short term. According to one study published in the journal The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, dancing may improve the physical condition and increase energy in adults.

8. Increased muscle tone

You may not need to go to the gym to have your muscles toned, you can have great muscles in your legs and glutes with dancing. For example, if you are a Latino dancer, you may have well-defined calves, while Break Dancers or Acrobats have strong shoulders. It can also work for toning your abdomen, lower back, and hips.

9. Better stamina and endurance levels

Dancing can offer an unexpected form of cross-training and quick moves that can help build up your stamina and muscular resistance. If you have problems with staying pace with your running exercise, do not wait any longer and take new dancing classes to improve your aerobic stamina.

10. Dancing has no age limits.

People of every age can gain something from dancing. Unusual for many sports activities, everyone can practice dancing, starting from toddlers to retirees. You can enjoy this beautiful experience, and it is good for everyone. Dancing means leading a healthy lifestyle, and it integrates the body, mind, and soul relationship.

What Are The Mental Benefits Of Dancing?

When you move, you feel happy and good, so this means dancing can improve your mood and mental well-being. 

Nowadays, when mental health becomes a hot topic, researchers are trying to find a correlation between dance and mental health. Moreover, numerous studies have shown that dancing can have positive effects on our mental health, such as the following:

1. Improved mood, reduced stress and anxiety

Numerous researches have shown that while dancing, within the body of the dancer, a great number of mood-improving chemicals are unleashed. One study conducted by The Arts in Psychotherapy found that these mood chemicals, when unleashed, can improve your mood instantly when unleashed, and even one “lively” session may reduce depression.

One other study conducted in 2007, has found that besides boosting mood and energy when you are taking hip hop classes can lower your stress level. Moreover, it engages the sense of touch, which also can lower your level of stress and anxiety. (3)

So, when you feel stressed, just shake your body and listen to some music, and the stress will fly away.

2. Dance as a social anxiety therapy

Dance has the ability to relax participants allowing them to dance in front of the public. Therefore, some therapists prescribe them to patients who suffer from social anxiety, such as fear of public speaking or speaking in front of an audience. So, one of the biggest benefits of dancing is increased confidence, and it can give you a sense of accomplishment and pride.

3. Dance for depression reduction

According to one study, patients who practiced dancing and were hospitalized with depression had a lower level of depression compared to those who didn’t. Also, teenagers showed lower levels of depression when placed in dancing and movement programs.

4. Dance for social bonding

Physical activity of dance can produce mental health benefits, and there is evidence that when dancing with somebody may increase the sense of connectedness and social activity. The dance classes are a great opportunity to make new friends, and you will find people with similar interests and hobbies.

According to one study conducted by Oxford University, dancing can light up the brain pathways, and you have the feeling that you know whom you are dancing with and can establish a connection easily. (4)  

3 Purposes Of Dance

Dancing has 3 different roles, and they are as follows:

1. Recreational role

Dancing can be practiced for entertainment and fun. Ballroom dancing is a create recreational and social activity. Aerobic dance can be a fun and excellent hobby for losing weight.

2. Ceremonial role

There are many dances that are performed for some celebrations and rituals by Native Americans and West Africans to celebrate events such as worshipping, good harvest, etc…

3. Artistic role 

The intent of the dance is a communication of some emotion, idea, or feeling, as usually in ballet, tap dance, and modern theatrical dances.

What about those who have two left feet and no sense of rhythm?

Try to lose yourself in the music and don’t think about how awkward and funny you might look. Because music indeed has many therapeutic benefits – it lifts our spirit and increases our happiness levels.