I didn’t know you could dance like that!

I LOVE to dance!  As a child I took ballet, and Irish step dancing. One of my electives in college was tap dancing, and in my thirties I signed “us” up for ballroom dancing, much to the dismay of my husband. I just enjoy dancing. It makes me feel happy.  What I didn’t think about until recently is that dancing is great for the body and mind.

When someone says they can’t dance, what they really mean is they feel self conscious trying.  Anyone can dance.  You just have to get out of your head and do it!  Just put on your favorite dancing music and go with the flow!  Do you watch Dancing With the Stars? Why is it that so many contestants talk about the profound impact and metamorphosis that occurs while they are competing? One major reason is that dancing puts us in a different frame of mind. This is supported by many studies.  Consider the following facts based on research;

  • Dancing reduces our anxiety.  That’s because endorphins are released, and this in turn improves your mood. The more you dance, the greater the benefit.
  • Dancing improves our fitness and coordination
  • Recent studies show that people who dance at least 4 times a week reduce their chances of dementia by 80%
  • Dancing is a valuable therapy for people with movement disorders, such as parkinson’s disease. Patients move to the beat of music using a technique known as (RAS) Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation.  This technique, uses a “fixed” rhythmic cue, and results in improvement in upper extremity function and gait. (Tarsy)
  • Dancing increases our happiness and general well being
  • Dancing makes us smarter

According to Dr. Joseph Coyle of the Harvard Medical School, the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex – both of which play a role in dancing – are rewired and consequently improved with frequent use.  New neural paths are created and the brain processes information faster and more efficiently. 

There are many health benefits associated with dance, effecting our body and mind.  In spite of all the positive benefits connected with dancing there is really only one reason people do it.  Dancing is FUN!  Don’t take my word for it.  Put on some music and try it right now.  Get those happy feet moving and see for yourself!