Why Should You Dance?
Little do toddlers know when they joyfully move their small feet and bodies to music, they have begun Dancing — one of the most enduring forms of activity there is. In 2006, an Italian study found dance to be good exercise for heart patients as compared to other aerobic exercises like cycling – and they thought that was probably due to the patients enjoying it more. (4) Even the elderly, when able, take pleasure moving to music.
As physical exercise, there is evidence that dancing (including social dancing) helps:
- Improve Strength, Flexibility, and Endurance
- Increase Muscle Tone and Co-ordination
- Burn Calories
- Strengthen Bones in the Legs and Hips
- Improve Cholesterol Levels and Decrease Blood Pressure
- Improve Posture and Balance.
Along with these physical benefits, dancers also enjoy:
- Increased Energy
- Reduction in Stress
- Improved Memory
- Increased Confidence and Self-Esteem
- Higher Levels of Seratonin — Leading to a Greater Sense of Well-Being. (3)
“And we do know you look younger when you dance!” K.C.
“Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages.” (3) A study done at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City determined that frequent dancing showed the greatest reduction in the risk of dementia (76%) of their tested physical or cognitive activities in senior citizens (75 years and older). (2) It is believed that dancing which requires participants to make quick decisions provides improved mental stimulus (as found in social dance). “Dancing (also) integrates several brain functions at once – kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional – (which) further increase(s) your neural connectivity.” (3)
Another important aspect to consider is the social benefits of dancing. Attending dances, or participating in dance classes, is a good way to meet new people and form friendships. As Dr. Jonathan Skinner of Queen’s University Belfast has said, “I have found that social dancing leads to a continued engagement with life – past, present and future – and holds the promise for successful ageing. It contributes to the longevity of the dancers, giving them something to enjoy and focus upon – to live for. It alleviates social isolation and quite literally helps take away the aches and pains associated with older age.” (1)
And, for those fortunate individuals who enjoy dancing, it is a Good Way To Just Have FUN!
- HSC Public Health Agency of Northern Ireland (1)
- New England Journal of Medicine, June 19, 2003 (2)
- Richard Powers, “Use It or Lose It; Dancing Makes You Smarter” including reference to publication in New England Journal of Medicine by Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, July 30, 2010 (3)
- Wikipedia, “Benefits of Dance (4)