We all know dancing is fun, but did you know that it’s so much more than entertainment? There is so much that we can gain by learning to dance. Today I want to highlight 5 ways our bodies can benefit from dancing.
1. It’s great cardio! Regular aerobic activity can have numerous health benefits including increasing your stamina, strengthening your heart, losing weight, warding off illnesses, and controlling chronic health conditions. Because dancing is done standing up, it can even help with osteoporosis. Getting your heart pumping and lungs working on a regular basis is recommended for overall good health. “Dance, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to get in shape as you’re working multiple muscle groups all at the same time that in turn keeps your body constantly challenged,” says fitness expert Tracy Mallett, creator of a variety of exercise DVDs. The USDA also recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise for adults per day, and dancing counts as moderate exercise. So if we need the exercise, and we get some wonderful benefits from it, why not make it fun while you’re at it?
2. Increased Balance and Agility. It is proven that ballroom dancing helps you learn to balance and control your body. This can help you in all aspects of your life, whether it’s in other sports and hobbies or reducing your risk of falling and getting hurt. Dancing is a physical activity that causes increased muscle flexibility due to the resistance caused by techniques such as Rise and Fall and Cuban Motion which in turn increases their strength and agility, and in turn improves your balance. There was also a study in 2007 that showed Argentine Tango was better at increasing the mobility in Parkinson’s disease patients, a major problem being balance and agility, than a regular exercise class,
3. Better posture. The good posture required for dancing will help prevent injuries in day to day activities. Keeping everything aligned will limit unnatural wear and tear of your joints, muscles, and bones which will in turn reduce risk of arthritis, muscle strains and tears, and fatigue. It also gives your lungs more room so you have an easier time breathing. You brain requires 20% of your oxygen, so practicing good posture will help get more oxygen to your brain and increase productivity!
4. It’s good for the brain! Not only do you have more oxygen flow, but dancing has also been shown to boost memory and cognitive abilities according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. It releases endorphins to help make you happy! Dancing can be a powerful combatant against mental illnesses such as depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Plus it combines the creation of “muscle memory,” by allowing people to “use” their brains to “use” their muscles!
5. Increased flexibility. Statistics show that improved flexibility can help increase your body’s range of motion and reduce the risk of injury. It also helps to increase blood flow into the extremities which helps flush out toxins, get oxygen to your muscles, and increases synovial fluid in the joints, (That’s the stuff that lubes the joints and keeps you from feeling like the Tin Man). Regular stretching also helps to relax your muscles which will reduce back pain and tension in your body. Therefore make sure that you stretch before and after your lessons, groups, and parties to keep up that flexibility for many years to come!
The great thing about ballroom dancing is that no matter what condition your body is in, you can always participate! We can make it as intense or easy as our bodies need so get up and get dancing! What are you waiting for?
Edwin Cabrera – Certified Instructor, Dance Director, and Dance Competitor
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