Multiple Health Benefits of Dancing – Backed by Science
In our last couple of blogs, we heard from our own Poise dancers and the professionals about why they like to dance. Well, it turns out that there is quite a large body of scientific evidence that points to why it makes a whole lot of sense for everyone to dance.
Many of us are aware of the importance of staying active, and the downside associated with the opposite, which commonly includes obesity, diabetes, and depression.
The gift of motion is why we naturally enjoy moving our body since birth – until bad habits that lead us down the sedentary path crowd out our time and take over. Dancing combines that vital need for movement with the grace and beauty that nourish our soul and sustain our mental wellness. Anthropologists find that throughout human evolution, dancing has always been an essential element in sacred ceremonies in every culture of the world and continues to feature in important rites of passage.
While we are beneficiaries of awe-inspiring performances of dancers, dancing is also very good for the dancers and those of us who simply like to dance. Here are some of the numerous benefits of dancing that have been uncovered through research. Each of these is supported by solid scientific evidence.
PHYSICAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF DANCING
- Improves agility and flexibility
- Improves balance and coordination
- Improves muscle tone and strength
- Builds and maintains bone density and strength
- Improves cardio-respiratory function, and decrease the chance of developing cardiovascular problems
- Improves body composition and posture
- Improves endurance
- Increases functional abilities for daily living
- Aids in weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight
- Maintains overall strength as we age
As more research evidence is being accumulated, we know better why it is good for us to dance. In fact, more and more professional athletes – even the men in contact sports such as football and hockey, are incorporating dancing into their training and daily routine. As world-renowned cardiologist Dr. Mimi Guarneri says, “Your heart loves to dance!”
MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF DANCING
- Increases use of both left and right brain
- Improves cognition and memory
- Improves spatial awareness
- Reduces stress and improves mood
- Boosts self-esteem
- Improves problem-solving skills
- Increases pain tolerance
- Reduces effects of dementia
- Provides an opportunity to socialize and improves social skills
Whichever these benefits you have personally experienced or would like to obtain, the good news is, dancing is easily adaptable to meeting your needs. You can dance anywhere, at any time. Not only does it combine art and exercise that unites the mind and the body, anyone can do it – whether they are 2 or 102.
Dancing is also about self-mastery: even when you are in competition, the most important person you compete with is not anyone else but yourself. Once you put in the work towards improvements consistently, you will start experiencing the changes in your physical and mental health. When that happens, you will not only get stronger, but also enter into a zone of self-motivation, where the drive to keep going and to get better comes naturally.
So now, let’s go and get dancing!