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Why Walk When You Can Dance: The Benefits of Dancing

Updated on March 22, 2014
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We've all been there. The radio begins playing, your feet start tapping and the music moves you - you've got the urge to dance. Whether it's Dee Lite's "Groove is in the Heart" or Blondie's "Heart of Glass" you may just bust a move. Filled with a rush of energy and satisfaction, never mind your now lightened mood, you collapse in the chair - reveling in your care-free moment. Maybe you may have thought dance was all about the exercise, just another way to slim and trim. Quite the contrary, dancing can have a multitude of health, body and mind benefits. From lifting your mood to increasing your flexibility, you may want to rethink the next time you hold back when "Thriller" begins to play. For a full list of the top 100 dance songs to get you started, check out this hub.

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Flexibility

It's not something many people keep in mind when crafting their exercise plan; however, with the recent explosion in yoga, some are beginning to see that the ideas of stretching and flexibility are harder to attain than previously thought. Yoga has the ability to transform based upon meditation and flexibility. In a similar way, dancing can have these same benefits. Flexibility can improve posture, increase joint and muscle movement, enhance balance and prevent injury. Dancing alone can improve upon your flexibility with the bending and twisting motions. Flexibility is key for any dancer!

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Heart and Lung Health

Similar to any exercise, dancing can improve your heart and lung health. Reducing such illnesses as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, dancing can have a variety of positive physical health benefits. In a study through the American Heart Association, patients who had chronic heart disease were able to improve their condition through waltz dancing. Similar studies have often shown comparable results, Circulation: Heart Failure found that just 20 minutes of dance three times a week could improve heart health more than traditional cardio alone.



Memory Boost and Intelligence

Recent study has shown that dancing can reduce risk of Dementia and Alzheimer, while increasing cognitive function. A 2003 study found that ballroom dancing at least twice a week made people less likely to develop dementia. This 21 year study followed senior citizens, demonstrating that frequently dancing was the only exercise to significantly reduce the risk of dementia. Unlike other activities, dancing requires many parts of the mind and body to work hand-in-hand. This increases neuroplasticity, reworking connections in the brain with the fast dance movements.

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Stress Relief and Happiness

Many find ways to channel their stress and frustration, whether it's running, writing, kick-boxing, walking, painting - the list is endless. One of the best ways to reduce stress is through exercise. When exercising, your body releases endorphin's. These are hormones that produce a sense of well-being, stress relief and happiness. In fact, The Journal of Applied Gerontology conducted a study which found that dancing along with a partner and some music can help release stress. Science has also shown that active people are at a lower risk for anxiety and depression than those who rarely exercise. So next time your work is stacking up and some mid-terms are looming, take a dance break!

Weight Loss

It comes as no surprise that dancing can result in weight loss. Of course, this won't happen after one of two dance sessions; however, The Journal of Physiological Anthropology suggested that dance training can result in just as much weight loss as jogging. Dance is a fun way to spice up any exercise routine and get out of the rut of the gym and the elliptical.


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Confidence

Dancing is a great way to make friends, boosting your self-confidence and increasing your social skills! Regardless whether you're a master of the tango or have your own style, dancing is a great form of self-expression. The health benefits coupled with the reduce in anxiety are sure to boost anyone's self-esteem.

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What Kind of Dance?

From tap to Irish step, or even a medley of sorts, the benefits of each are endless. So, which kind of dance should you take-up?

  • Tango: Increases happiness and reduces levels of stress
  • Ballroom dancing: Increases neuroplasticity, lessening the risk for dementia and memory loss
  • Ballet: Technique and flexibility improvements
  • Belly-Dancing: Weight loss and flexibility
  • Tap: Increase in endurance
  • Hip-Hop: Heart and lung health; stamina, strength
  • Swing: Increase in happiness and reduction of stress
  • Pole-dancing: Endurance, flexibility, strength and coordination


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    • alyssagoesgreen profile image
      Author

      Alyssa S. 3 years ago from USA

      Thank you, neither am I but that sure doesn't stop me (and it shouldn't stop you either!)

    • kerlund74 profile image

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Interesting and informativ hub. I am no dancer, I have always heard people say that I don't "have the right moves". And well maybe I don't. BUT I can truly understand that it is a source to happiness just like a lot of other things we enjoy in life. Voted!