With National Dance Week scheduled for April 19th through April 28th, now is a good time to consider the benefits provided by dancing. Your personal care professionals in the area recommend dancing to improve your physical and mental dispositions, and to add a very enjoyable factor to your overall quality of life. In Water Valley and elsewhere, many people both young and old have discovered the joy of dancing, and how it can add a whole new dimension to your life. Here are some of the ways that dancing can enhance your physical and mental well-being.
There are a number of physical benefits derived from dancing, starting with the improvement of a person’s cardiovascular health. It’s very possible that heart disease can be prevented by dancing regularly because the heart is being stimulated and strengthened through vigorous dance movements. Physical activity such as dancing also helps to ward off arthritis and osteoporosis. When the joints of your body stay active and are engaged in frequent movement, that prevents them from becoming locked in place and limiting your mobility. Your bones are also generally strengthened by the physical activity and don’t lose their mass as quickly as they might if you were more stationary.
Regular dancing can also improve blood circulation and stimulate calorie burning. If you’re relatively sedentary, dancing is one thing you can do which will get you up off the couch and back into life again. The more frequently you dance, and the longer sessions you have while dancing, the more calories will be burned, which means it will be easier for you to maintain your weight, or possibly even lose some weight if you need to.
The levels of various substances in your blood are also managed somewhat by any dancing activity that you pursue because dancing helps to control lipids in the bloodstream. Good cholesterol is increased by dancing, just as bad cholesterol is reduced. Anyone who is troubled with diabetes will also gain a serious benefit from dancing, because it helps to control the level of blood sugar, and thereby keep you healthier.
There are even more physical benefits than the ones listed above which you will enjoy when dancing. The same general benefits are obtained from dancing, as with any kind of vigorous exercise, although dancing seems much more like fun to people than some kinds of exercise, which can seem a bit more like work.
Emotional and mental benefits
While the physical benefits may be more obvious to the casual observer than emotional or mental benefits, it’s certainly true that there are some very powerful advantages obtained by dancing other than the physical ones. Any time a person is involved in physical stimulation, the brain is also stimulated, and that’s a very good thing. When the brain receives this kind of stimulation, it increases the development of creative abilities, and it encourages the development of memory because dancers have to remember times and sequences.
It’s also true that the music being listened to is a noteworthy stimulation all by itself, instantly putting participants into a more relaxed state of mind, and ready to enjoy whatever follows. The nature of dance makes it ideal for social interaction since it’s almost always done in groups of several people. Because it’s a very entertaining and recreational kind of activity, it also produces an increased level of satisfaction and a better mood for all those taking part.
Senior citizens who belong to a dance group or who are taking classes, often form new friendships and become much more interactive with those in their groups. This, in turn, leads to increased self-confidence, even if you’re not a particularly good dancer. One other noteworthy benefit of dancing is that, just like with most types of exercise, it causes the release of additional endorphins in the body. Endorphins are the feel-good hormones which promote a sense of euphoria and enjoyment in a person, and when the level of endorphins increases in the body, it causes a person to just feel much better.
Benefits for young and old
A study conducted in Sweden on 100 teenage girls struggling with anxiety and/or depression pointed up some interesting benefits imparted by dancing. Fifty of the girls were included in weekly dance classes, while the other 50 were not, and when the dance classes ended, the group which had attended those classes showed an overall improved mood and much better mental health. The positive benefits derived from the dance classes remained in effect for months after the classes had ended, prompting researchers to conclude that the benefits were not only tangible but long-lasting.
Elderly people have also been studied with regard to obtaining benefits from dancing, and a study conducted in North Dakota on individuals between the ages of 65 and 91 focused on how they benefited from 12 weeks of taking Zumba classes. At the end of the 12 weeks, virtually all the seniors being studied showed an improved mood, increased cognitive skills, better agility, and even much-improved strength. From these two studies, it can be safely concluded that dancing provides a world of good things for all who choose to become involved, regardless of age.