There are many forms of dance, from ballroom to barn dancing and disco to Morris dancing. Dance has always been a part of human culture, rituals and celebrations. Today, most dancing is about recreation and self-expression, although it can also be done as a competitive activity. Dancing is an enjoyable way to be more physically active and stay fit.
Health benefits of dancing
Dancing can be a way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It has a wide range of physical and mental benefits including:
- improved condition of your heart and lungs
- increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
- increased aerobic fitness
- improved muscle tone and strength
- weight management
- stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
- better coordination, agility and flexibility
- improved balance and spatial awareness
- increased physical confidence
- improved mental functioning
- improved general and psychological wellbeing
- greater self-confidence and self-esteem
- better social skills.
Dance requires balance, timing, strength, stamina, and knowledge or skill in putting sequences of steps together. Every movement in dance serves a purpose. Some moves are very romantic or sexual; some moves are asexual. Some moves demonstrate strength, power, speed, and agility. In competition dance styles often emphasize moves that, if attempted on a crowded dance floor, would be unsafe and could lead to mishap or injury. So let’s look at the benefits you can reap from practicing dance.
Dance Builds Strength. First and foremost, as you learn to perform the more strenuous moves in any dance style (or martial art form) your muscles begin to adapt to the movements. The more you practice each dance step the stronger certain muscles become. Many dancers have excellent physiques and they never enter a gym.
Dance Improves Balance. The many changes in body position and movement forces your brain to adapt to the rolling movements. Practicing dance improves balance for most people. Some people whose sense of balance has been impaired (through chronic vertigo) have reported improved balance, although dance is a therapeutic exercise; you cannot cure vertigo through dance.
Dance Builds Endurance. Call it stamina, endurance, or staying power all dancers agree that as you spend more time dancing your body becomes accustomed to maintaining constant exertion. Dancing for two hours is equivalent to running 15-20 miles. Don’t just get up and start dancing for two hours, though. You’ll have to build up to that kind of activity.
Dance Builds Social Connections. Dancing alone can be fun and good exercise but most people enjoy dancing with and around other people even more. Studies have shown that as people age becoming involved in social dancing helps them stay active, involved, and productive members of their communities. Dancing is an important part of social gatherings across the globe.
Dance Improves General Health. In addition to building muscle, improving balance, and increasing physical endurance dance also assists in burning calories and reducing stress. Active dancers tend to enjoy good cardiovascular and respiratory health as well.
Dance Preserves Cultural Heritage and Traditions. Many cultures develop their own dance styles. As these dance styles are handed on from generation to generation cultures are passed down through the ages. And some dance styles tell stories, so as the dances are passed on the traditional stories of many ethnic groups are preserved for future generations.
Dance is Great Entertainment. We love to watch skilled dancers perform graceful, intricate moves either individually, with partners, or as teams. That is why the ballet and other forms of entertainment dance have been popular for centuries.
Dancing is also a fun pass time. It helps build friendships, romantic relationships, and even familial relationships. Sharing in the dance experience brings people closer together and helps them build rapport with each other.
These are just a few examples of the benefits one derives from dancing. If you have the opportunity to learn how to dance, or to practice dancing, you have many reasons to go for it.