So why dance? the health facts
Dancing has a way of taking your cares away. It doesn't matter if it's the Electric Slide, the Macarena or your own crazy moves. Who hasn't gotten lost in an upbeat song as they jumped around?
But not only does it feel good to the soul, dancing also has some major health perks. Research shows dancing can improve your mental health by boosting your overall happiness. If you're looking for a reason to shake it off today, check out some of the benefits below.
Dance is good for Your mental health
We've all been in need of a "mental break" from time to time. Dancing can offer the escape your brain needs. "It's a good counter-activity to being stuck on a screen and being home."
And science agrees. A 2014 study found positive changes in mood for recreational dancers. Participants had higher energy levels and were less tense compared with competition dancers, who had stress levels similar to those of other competitive athletes. Not unlike a "runner's high," rhythmic movement has been shown to trigger the release of endorphins, which can boost your mood.
Dancing is a very indulgent time to just concentrate on yourself. Your brain quiets down, and it's nonverbal, so you won't feel like your mind is running wild.
As much of a mental exercise as a physical one, dancing keeps the mind sharp. A 2011 study found that dancing as we age helps improve cognitive flexibility, known to decline even in high-functioning older adults. Dance Classes Anyone?
Dancing is a great cardio workout
Like any good, low-impact cardio workout, dancing can improve cardiovascular health, increase stamina, strengthen bones and muscles and stave off illnesses. But aside from the perks associated any heart-pounding activity, dancing has a cardio edge with unique benefits that actually can't be achieved by other low-impact exercises.
"Dancing can give you more than traditional cardio," Fabio Comana, an exercise physiologist and education team member for the National Academy of Sports Medicine, has said.
Experts describe five components of fitness: cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, muscular endurance, body composition and muscular strength. An activity like running on the treadmill may improve cardiovascular endurance and body composition, but an activity like dancing can actually target those two as well as muscular endurance and flexibility. And that's on top of improved balance, agility, coordination, power, reactivity and speed.
If exercise is not an enjoyable experience, we're not going to do it, and the bottom line is that dancing is, plain and simple, fun in the way a monotonous treadmill run probably never will be. Plus, busting a move can trigger the release of feel good hormones like serotonin and endorphins.
"People think, 'I'm not exercising, I'm dancing'. At the end of the day, you're moving and you're burning calories. It can be just as good as a cardio class.
Not only will you be more likely to stick with a fitness routine if it's fun, but you'll also want to do it for longer. This will push you to move for a longer period of time than typical exercise, purely because it's a lot of fun and not the dreaded word 'exercise. Dance inspires people to get in shape with something they love to do, which doesn't feel like dreaded exercise or a bad chore, but fun and exhilarating.
It's time to get A groove on!