Dancing is a great way to stay physically fit for people of all ages from young to not so young. It has a wide range of physical health, social health and mental health benefits.
The secret is that dancing requires a variety of different skills, both mental and physical. Dancing requires not only balance, strength, and endurance, but also cognitive ability: adaptability and concentration to move with the music and your partner, artistry for graceful and fluid motion, and memory for choreography.
Let’s have a closer look at what you will gain by dancing. These benefits may sound quite straightforward, but did you think about them before? If not, maybe now is the time.
Dancing improves condition of your heart and lungs
Dancing is an aerobic activity, which means it will increase your heart rate and your lungs will work a little harder for you not to faint from oxygen deficiency. That is good news because if you keep dancing your heart will get stronger and your lungs will get more efficient. You will not be getting tired as easily as in your pre-dancing life and you will not be out of breath climbing up the stairs.
Moreover, better lung health may improve your chances fighting COVID-19 or cold or flu or some other unknown respiratory condition if you get happen to catch one.
Dancing increases muscular tone and endurance
Dancing requires use of your muscles. Yep, that is how we humans move from one foot to another. We use those muscles. And not just leg muscles. You have to have strong core muscles to maintain balance. And don’t forget arms (unless you forgot to use them, and then ask your dance teacher for help). So, in the end even if you are doing simple dance steps, you are using many, many muscles in your body. The funny thing is that since every muscle works a little, we still achieve great result and it does not feel like work! Awesome. The final result of dancing will be that your overall body tone will increase. That does not mean that you will bulk up like a bodybuilder. You muscles will be long and strong and you will look more like a dancer!
Dancing helps weight management
Using your body to dance comes with a price. A price measured in calories and pounds. Yes, we are talking about losing and maintaining weight! This is probably the most obvious and desirable benefit for newcomers. Many active dancers when they stop dancing for some time often complain that they “gained so much”. What do they do? Go back to dancing as soon as possible. We heard bathroom stories at a recent dance competition when a lady was complaining to her friend that she gained 15 pounds because she temporarily stopped dancing “due to COVID-19”. She was very happy that her dance studio reopened and she was able to restart her private dance lessons.
Dancing helps to have stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
Dancing will not necessarily make you bones stronger. However, all those toned muscles in your body will support you spine, hips and knees much better. Your improved dance posture will release unnecessary pressure from joints. As a result, your chances of bone injury may decrease quite a bit. You will suffer less back and joint pain. Definitely something to look forward to!
Dancing helps to achieve better coordination, agility and flexibility
Coordination and agility do not appear like “magic”, they have to be developed. Most children are born quite flexible. They can do crazy things and twist themselves unimaginably. However, as they get older, and become “normal” adults they stop doing those crazy things and their flexibility decreases. In addition, if they are not doing any physical activities, their coordination starts to suffer. If that continues, they can become stiff and uncoordinated.
No worries, though, this is not what is going to happen to you, right? You are smart adult who decided to start dancing! All your problems are not going to suddenly disappear, but you will develop better coordination, agility and flexibility.
When you dance, you have to move in a coordinated manner, use your legs, feet, arms and hands (and sometimes even head, but we won’t talk about that now). Initially you may feel strange. Not a surprise if you have never done it before. Remember when you got your first IPhone? It took you some time to effortlessly teach your fingers and hand how to swipe, tap and scroll. The same with dancing, it is just that you have to use more parts of your body. But you know you can do it, because the result is worth it.
Dancing improves balance and spatial awareness
Dancing will also help you to feel more balanced and aware of your surroundings. How is that? Balance is simple to explain. When you go grocery shopping, do you know whether you are standing on your right leg, left leg or both legs equally (we call it “split weight”)? Good for you if you can answer this questions, you will be very good dancer much faster! Do not worry if this question puzzled you. Most of the time people just roll through their legs without realizing how they do it. This is natural, this is how we walk.
In dancing, however, we need to be sure where we are. Balance means we are aware of how our weight is distributed and this knowledge gives us power to move. Sounds cool and it works. In addition, being balanced is more efficient and puts less stress on your body. It is like switching from an old car that could do 15 mpg to a new hybrid car that runs 35 mpg.
Dancing will also give you a much better sense of spacial awareness. You will have to turn, know where your partner is etc. Back to cars, you probably know that it is different to drive large SUV and compact car. You need to be aware of how much space they take to fit the road well. Similarly here, while dancing you will learn how much space you take. The fun thing is that you can take more or less space, depending on what you are trying to do!
In conclusion, dance. Take some group dance classes if you are on a budget, private dance lessons or come to our social Ballroom dance parties. Dance as much as you physically can, dance as much as you can afford, dance as much as you busy schedule allows. Find time to do it. Dancing will help you to become a healthier, stronger more capable individual.