Dance, Dance, Dance

May 4, 2015

dancing in air

I just put my feet in the air and move them around. ~Fred Astaire

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 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.

1. Increased 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 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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- Dance can be a very therapeutic and healthy way for people to channel any feelings they may be experiencing. If you are suffering from depression, dance can give you an outlet for your emotions by using music or movements that you connect to while in a positive environment. Being able to express yourself without having to talk about anything can give a sense of freedom both physically and physiologically. As you continue to dance, you will see how easy dancing will become and your confidence and self-esteem will also naturally increase, both on and off the dance floor only helping to further reduce your feelings of depression.
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. Social Improvement & Confidence- 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.

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