Dancing is one of life’s great pleasures. Swinging and grooving to music just makes us feel good. And whether it’s at a party or at home, there’s something undeniably irresistible about moving to a good rhythm.
But aside from it being plain fun, there are a whole host of health-improving reasons to take up dancing as a regular form of exercise. Here are our top 5. . .
1 – Dancing improves cardiovascular health
Dance, like other forms of vigorous physical exercise, makes your heart beat faster. And when the heart is pushed through healthy activity, just like any other muscle, it gets stronger.
Of course, there are many health benefits associated with regular exercise: reduced risk of disease, increased energy levels, better sleep. And whilst dancing may be just one of many ways to reap these rewards, it’s certainly one of the most enjoyable!
2 – It’s a fun way to stay active
According to the NHS, adults between the ages of 19 and 65 should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate (or 75 minutes of vigorous) aerobic exercise per week. Attending dance groups or classes is a great way to contribute towards this goal.
Dance is a naturally engaging form of exercise due to the high levels of concentration it requires. Unlike jogging on a treadmill or lifting weights, dancing doesn’t consist of a single repetitive action or set of actions. Instead, it’s dynamic, ever-changing, and requires a level of focus and mind-body synchronicity that helps keep it appealing and enjoyable.
When we dance, our minds are dealing with many different stimuli at once. We have to know which parts of the body to move and when, remain aware of the music in order to keep time, and maintain constant spatial awareness so that we don’t bump into other dancers. These factors, combined, make dancing deeply engaging which, in turn, makes it a very fun and rewarding activity.
3 – Increases balance and reduces dizziness
Dancing incorporates a huge variety of movements across all parts of the body, and teaches us to move various body parts simultaneously.
As well as this, studies suggest that regular dance training can help to reduce feelings of dizziness. According to the research, experienced dancers are able to suppress signals from the balance organs in the inner ear linked to the cerebellum. In other words, if you spin a ballet dancer round in a chair they’ll recover from their disorientation faster than a non-ballet dancer.
4 – Dancing can help reduce stress
All forms of physical exercise can be linked to stress reduction, but dancing may be particularly effective in delivering that feel-good factor.
This is because dancing is such an inherently enjoyable activity that most of the time it doesn’t even feel like exercise. When we dance we’re more likely to lose ourself in the activity and simply enjoy it for what it is, rather than spending all our time watching the clock and wishing for it to be over.
Just think about it, when was the last time you stepped off a dance floor and didn’t feel good?
5 – Boosts your brain
Dancing is heavy on the brain. It involves memorising sequences, steps, and specific movements, and requires mental and physical alertness. Many people believe that these, as well as other potential factors, make dancing a great way to improve cognitive performance.
In one study, it was reported that individuals who attended a weekly one-hour dance class over the course of six months experienced improvements in postural, sensorimotor, and cognitive performance scores.
And here’s an extract from an article published on Harvard Medical School’s website about the effects dancing has on the brain:
“A 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine discovered that dance can decidedly improve brain health. The study investigated the effect leisure activities had on the risk of dementia in the elderly. The researchers looked at the effects of 11 different types of physical activity, including cycling, golf, swimming, and tennis, but found that only one of the activities studied—dance—lowered participants’ risk of dementia. According to the researchers, dancing involves both a mental effort and social interaction and that this type of stimulation helped reduce the risk of dementia.”
If you’re already feeling those feet-tapping, hip-swaying vibes take hold, then why not come along to a dance class at Jesmond Pool & Gym? We’ve got several to choose from (see here and here), so you can pick the groove that suits you best. Or if you’d like to read more about the benefits of dance, take a look at our post on getting fit with Zumba.