Dancing regularly can:
Improve your posture – Dancing can really help to correct the effects of modern living.
Improve cardiovascular health – Dancing combines aerobic activity with weight bearing which will boost your strength and endurance.
Strengthen your heart – Dance uses oxygen, burns calories and increases your hearts workload.
Strengthen your lungs – Cardiovascular activity will increase your lungs workload, therefore strengthening them and increasing their capacity.
Improve your bone density – Dancing slightly jars the bones, which encourages the body to build new bone. This helps to strengthen the skeleton and reduces the risk of conditions such as Osteoporosis.
Improve your balance – Dancing will improve your balance and concentration.
Improve your co-ordination – Exercise improves blood flow to the brain which encourages direct focus and concentration.
Build muscle tone – Regular dancing will improve and build muscle tone throughout the body, particularly in the legs and buttocks. Regular dancers often find they drop a clothes size due to increased muscle tone.
Improve mobility – Dancing will increase the amount of synovial fluid around the joints therefore improving mobility.
Improve flexibility – Dancing will gently lengthen and strengthen your muscles to improve flexibility.
Improve grace and agility – Improved posture, mobility and flexibility will contribute towards improved grace and agility.
Help your circulation – Using your heart more will pump blood around the body and increase your circulation.
Aid in weight loss – Dance is an excellent way to exercise without realising it. Aerobic activity means your heart rate is raised and maintained, therefore, combined with a calorie controlled diet, assisting in weight loss. U.S research shows that a vigorous dance class can burn as many calories as a gym workout.
*Improve your confidence – Dancing encourages confidence and releases endorphins which give you the ‘feel good factor’.
*Help you to relax – Dancing is a great way to forget your troubles for a while, while aerobic activity will physically tire you and aid relaxation.
*Improve your social life – Meet other people and make new friends with others who are just like you, singles, couples and friends alike!
Boost immunity – People who exercise regularly get fewer minor ailments such as colds and flu.
*Improve brain activity – Improved blood flow to the brain keeps it in good shape. Learning new routines encourages the brain to produce new dendrites (connections between nerve cells), which help your brain to store and retrieve information more easily.
*Ease aches and lifts depression – Sustained activity such as dancing releases endorphins. These are body-made chemicals that ease pain, banish depression, and encourage feelings of well-being.
Increase strength and stamina – Aerobic and weight bearing activity will boost your strength and endurance.
Burn up to 400 calories per hour!
Excerpted from Penfriend Magazine, Spring 2007
Dancing is an excellent form of exercise because it not only burns calories and builds muscles, but it also contributes to an overall sense of happiness. Of course, all exercise releases endorphins, but dancing has an increased effect in this realm because it’s not only the physical activity, but also the music, that affect the mind.
Endorphins are released when the body is forced to exert itself at a certain level. You may have heard of a ‘runner’s high’; because dancing is a similar activity, this same boost in mood can be achieved through dancing. In addition to the physical activity of dancing, when dancing is also a performance, adrenaline and endorphins work together to create a dramatic ‘dancer’s high’.
Dancing also affects the mind by contributing to a sense of satisfaction. While you may not reach new goals each day that you dance, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you worked hard towards reaching those goals. Sweating through a series of exercises can be very satisfying even if change comes about at a pace so slow that you can’t see the improvement. In the long term, you will see the fruits of your efforts from year to year, but on a day-to-day basis, most dancers feel very satisfied with having completed their exercises, worked on their turnout, and done their daily stretch routine.
Dancing and Your Mind
Dancing not only has short-term benefits for your mental well-being, but also long-term benefits. Dancers become very good at learning things quickly and methodically because of how often you learn new steps. Dancers learn to repeat things not just with their bodies, but also with their hands and in words. This process of repeating what you just saw or heard until you’ve committed it to memory is a skill, and it serves dancers in all aspects of life, both inside the studio and out.
In addition to enhanced memory skills, dancers also tend to be self-disciplined and self-motivated. Dancers grow accustomed to working in a structured manner toward a goal and realize that results never come overnight. For this reason, dancers are often highly disciplined, and carry this discipline over into other aspects of their lives.
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If all these mental benefits sound great to you and you’re not dancing yet, now may be the perfect moment to start. In principle, all forms of dancing have positive mental benefits; however, some forms of dance will have more/different benefits than other types. For example, a slow dance may not burn many calories or release many endorphins, but may well contribute to long-term discipline and memory.
Likewise, a very fast dance could release lots of endorphins today, but not take much discipline or memory (for example a highly improvisational form of dance, which, not yet mentioned here, will help spark creativity, which is yet another mental benefit of dancing). Ultimately, it’s all up to you to decide which dance form is most appealing to you for yourself. Then you can let whatever positive mental benefits come alongside that dance form be a nice bonus.
Benefits of Dance
You’ve always got something to do on Saturday night
Regular touching reduces pain, reduces stress hormones, alleviates depression, enhances attentiveness and improves immune function
The pressure dancing puts on bones strengthens them and makes them more dense, reducing the risk of osteoporosis
Sequential learning and spatial development helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s
Improve flexibility and balance
Tone and strengthen muscles
Develop rhythm and coordination
Exercise produces endorphins which cause positive mental effect
The partnership you form on the dance floor extends to other areas of your life
Meet new people and make new friends
Camaraderie with other dancers
Build self-esteem and self-confidence
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