Health Benefits of Dance

Partner dancing is truly a remarkable activity that provides many benefits including physical, mental, and emotional. In this post, I hope to shed some light as to how.

Today, we will be covering 3 of the many benefits:
· Cardiovascular
· Immune System
· Brain Function

Several studies show that partner dancing a few times a week lowers your risk of heart disease, improves fitness, strengthens your immune system, and slows down or wards off various neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis to name a few.

Cardiovascular Health and Fitness

Within partner dancing, there are various dance styles that range from a slow Waltz to an energetic Cha Cha Cha and dancing a mixture of these styles will challenge your body and keep it guessing every time. For example, the muscle control required for slow dances will help tone the body as well as increase your heart rate. There is no question that fast dances such as Cha Cha will get the heart pumping and blood flowing. As your heart rate increases, it releases endorphins in your brain which elevates your mood and reduces stress.

Dancing is unlike any other sport or exercise you would do at the gym – You are moving forwards, backward, sideways, going onto your toes, lowering down into your knees, essentially, you’re moving in every which direction while listening to the beat of the music. This presents a great challenge to the body (and mind) and you will quickly start noticing muscles you never knew existed! Another great benefit to dancing is that it is easy on the joints, which makes it a great activity you can pick up at any age and you will have so much fun that you won’t even realize you’re exercising! Many people begin partner dancing as adults, but it is a great activity for kids because it also improves social skills, improves cognitive brain function, and teaches etiquette.

Quick Studies:
Harvard medical researchers found that moderate-intensity dancing was linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular death. (https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/dance-your-way-to-better-heart-health)
7 Benefits of Improved Cardiovascular Exercise – https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/7-heart-benefits-of-exercise

Trish and Abe dancing Mambo at Dance Competition
Trish and Abe dancing Mambo at Dance Competition

Strengthens Your Immune System

One of the biggest culprits of a weakened immune system is stress. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is extremely important to make time within your business schedule to do something you enjoy. Partner dancing has proven to reduce stress in multiple ways. As humans, we have a desire to be socially connected and feel accepted. When you dance with a partner your brain releases a hormone called oxytocin. An article posted in mdlinx says this hormone is released when we come into physical contact or bond with other people both intimately and socially. This naturally boosts our emotional well-being which calms our nervous system and reduces stress.

I have met some of my greatest friends through dance – It’s nice to be able to make new friends with a common interest. Going to a dance studio provides a beautiful sense of community where you are learning, growing, and connecting with others. Not to mention, it’s a great way to strengthen current relationships and a way to find a new joy in life.

Another way dancing reduces stress is that it requires your full attention. When you are learning a new skill, it requires your brain to go into “focus” mode so that you can create new neural connections in the brain that can be stored into your long-term memory. When you are dancing or taking a lesson, you must be in the moment with your partner and focus on the new skills you are learning. This time that you have dedicated to your well-being allows you to shut out the noise of everyday life. You can put your to-do list away or forget about the traffic you were just in and simply be in the moment.

Anytime you reduce your stress level, it is a good thing for the immune system. Every time my students leave the studio with a big smile on their face and thank me, I know I helped make their day a little brighter. To me, there is nothing better than to helping someone achieve their goals : )

Improved Brain Function

Partner dancing also helps slow down or even ward off a multitude of neurological diseases including, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis to name a few. It also helps boost your cognitive skills by improving concentration, memory, and motor skills. When these cognitive skills become stagnant, there is a bigger risk of developing neurological diseases. There are many movements in dance, such as turns, spins, rising onto the toes, and taking long gliding steps that cause you to improve your balance immensely. The combination of listening to music, dancing to it, while leading or following patterns will improve your coordination. In-turn, strengthening your cognitive ability. When you are new to dance, this can be very challenging, but as you dance more and more, you will find yourself in a state of flow where you can do all these things and have a conversation at the same time! It really is an amazing feeling!

Ready to start dancing? Call your local dance studio and schedule your first lesson today! I promise you won’t regret it : )

Interested in learning at Just Danze? Schedule your first lesson today https://justdanzehouston.com/private-dance-lessons/

Studies used in today’s post:
Dance your way to better heart health: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/dance-your-way-to-better-heart-health
Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute – Dancing and the Brain: https://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain/dancing-and-brain
Stanford Dance – Dancing Makes You Smarter, Longer: https://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/smarter.htm


3 thoughts on “Health Benefits of Dance”

  1. It was interesting to learn that dance helps strengthen our immune system by reducing stress through the release of oxytocin, which naturally boosts our emotional well-being and calms our nervous system. I have a little bit more free time compared to before, so I am considering picking up a hobby to do instead of just focusing too much on work all the time and accumulating stress. I’ll keep this in mind while I look for where I can get adult dance lessons soon.

  2. In search of a fun and active way to spend time together, my mum and her friends are thinking about getting into dancing courses. They think that taking dancing lessons will not only provide them with a new ability but will also encourage health, friendship, and a sense of success as they push themselves into a novel social environment. They should be aware that dancing needs your whole concentration, which is another way it lowers stress. As you explained, in order to build new neural connections in the brain that can be retained in your long-term memory when you are learning a new skill, your brain has to enter “focus” mode.

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