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Published: March 25, 2021

“When you dance, you can enjoy the luxury of being you.” – Paulo Coelho

We all might enjoy a dance at the Christmas party but why not indulge more often?

Studies now show that it can help our mood and memory, alongside helping us to lose weight, make friends and even more. So why aren’t more of us doing it? 

Read below for 7 great reasons to keep on (or even start) dancing. 

Healthy hearts – Dancing is fantastic cardiovascular exercise. People of all fitness levels have shown great improvements in their heart health and a recent study found that people who took up waltzing improved their heart health, breathing and all-round quality of life, even compared to those who exercised on a bike or treadmill. 

Improves balance – The benefits of dance become even greater as we age. One of the main reasons for this is that as we age our balance and muscle strength decline increasing the likelihood that we can fall and injure ourselves. Our soft tissue also loses flexibility which again increases the chance of falls.

Dancing can help offset this process by building and challenging our postural and stabilising muscles keeping them strong. A recent study found that an hour of dance a week helps to reduce the risk of falling in over 65s.

Additionally, dance is a weight-bearing activity so it helps to keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis. This means that if you do have a fall, you are less likely to fracture a bone or cause serious harm.

A lot of the movements we do, day to day, are in a saggital plane i.e walking and going up and down stairs. Dancing you move in multiple directions meaning you lay down and strengthen different neural pathways strengthening your movement patterns.

The more active you stay, the more you can maintain your strength, balance, and flexibility safe guarding your future.

Improve memory – A lot of research shows how dancing can maintain and even boost your ability to think as you age. According to some studies, scientists have found that the areas of the brain that control memory and skills, such as planning and organizing, improve with exercise like dance. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine, dancing goes further than just improving our memory and can actually prevent you from developing dementia as you get older. This is because our brains memory center, the hippocampus, naturally shrinks during late adulthood, which often leads to impaired memory and sometimes dementia. Dancing and aerobic exercise can actually reverse this loss in the size of the hippocampus. 

Increase confidence – One of the biggest benefits of dance is increased confidence.  Learning and mastering a new skill, in general, is great for your confidence.  It can give you a sense of accomplishment and pride.  Dance also has the added bonus of learning to move your body in beautiful new ways.

Widen your social circle – One of the greatest things about dance is that anyone can participate, it’s all inclusive! If you’re able to move, even if it’s only your upper body, you can dance. This equalizer is what makes dance so popular with people who typically shy away from other forms of exercise.

Dancing by its very nature is a social activity. It’s a great opportunity to meet new friends and widen your social circle. Not only does it improve your self-esteem, making it easier to make new friends, the music and need to concentrate on the dance moves helps to remove any social awkwardness. 

Fight depression – The bodies movement during dance produces big releases of our brains anti-depressant neurotransmitters like dopamine and endorphins (both associated with happiness and good mood). Alongside this, music and rhythm, gives our brain something to focus on and recent research has shown that just listening to music can help your mental and emotional health by reducing stress, decreasing the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and boosting your self-esteem.

Weight loss – Many people who join a dance class with the intent of getting in shape find that they have higher success rates than those who just hit the gym.  Part of this may be the network of other dancers you connect with when you dance, and another part could just be pure fun.

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