Dancing is a great way to build physical & mental activity into our lives; evidence shows that having an inactive lifestyle has a negative impact on our health.
Dancing and Health
Moving to music stimulates the senses – sight, sound and touch – it’s great fun and it’s good for our bodies and minds. Dancing will improve the condition of the heart and lungs, as well as test our balance.
However, to dance for any length of time also requires muscular endurance and motor fitness, and with so many different forms of dance there’s something for every pair of dancing feet!
Good for Every Body
The British Heart Foundation agrees that dancing is a great way to stay in shape. Regular dancing will reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cancer. And you’ll enjoy yourself so much you’ll forget you’re exercising!
Dance away the fat
Regular dancing will also help keep you trim. As you shimmy across the floor, you’ll be burning calories: in just a half-hour dance lesson, an average 60kg person will burn at least 99 calories. Of course this varies – Salsa dancing is classed as a high-intensity cardiovascular activity which can burn upto 450 calories an hour, so you’ll burn more with a lively Latino-style than beginner’s belly dancing because you’re moving more.
Good for your Bones and Joints
Dancing helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis because the steps put a strain on your bones, helping them to stay strong and dense. The denser your bones are, the longer your bones will remain strong.
Keeps you moving
Other skills you’ll develop as you learn to glide across the dance floor – poise and grace – encourage coordination, balance and muscle strength.
Good for your Mind
A regular dance will help to keep your mind active as well as your body. Exercise improves circulation and helps prevent oxygen starvation to the brain, and remembering complex steps stimulates the working memory. Research in the USA has shown that dancing is the best form of physical activity for keeping the brain active.
Social Dancing Helps Improve Alzheimer’s
A study published in the New England Journal showed that regularly engaging in social dancing lowered the risk of dementia by a staggering 76% – Dancing showed the greatest risk reduction of any activity studied.
The research, led by Dr. Joe Verghese at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, showed some physical activities appeared to offer little protection against dementia. Surprisingly social dancing came out on top,
Reduced risk of dementia; Dancing 76%, Cross Words 47%, Reading 35%, Golf, Swimming and Cycling 0%.
Regular social dancing can help prevent Alzheimer’s because you will be learning new steps and challenging your memory during each of your dance classes.
There’s another good reason why dance benefits the brain – social life.
Lifts your mood
Many dance forms are wonderfully relaxing. You can let your mind wander as you trip the light fantastic. Depending on the style you choose, a dance class can be a pleasant trip down memory lane, or a stimulating voyage into new musical realms.Â Dance is an expression of your personality and a way of exploring who you are.
What’s more, exercising can lift your mood and reduce the risk of depression – don’t overlook the feel good factor. And let’s not forget the sense of achievement you’ll feel as you master the most complex of moves – finding something you enjoy, and that you can see and feel your improvement at with practice, can give your confidence an enormous boost, dancing to music helps to relieve pressure. All in all making you a happier, fitter, sexier and a much more confident person.
Recent recommendations say looking after your heart, eating well, staying physically & socially active are all good for us.
BHF Website Links
New England Journal Website Links
Donahey’s Dancing Is Good For You
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