Why is dancing good for us?
1. It supports our physical health.
Dancing is one of those incredible exercises that hits several different body systems at once. It gets our heart rate going, and works our cardiorespiratory system (heart and lungs, together). It helps to keep our muscles active, which not only maintains a good level of strength and endurance now but prevents us losing these as we get older. It’s also a great activity to choose if you aren’t very fit to start with or have limited mobility. It’s gentle on our joints, great for flexibility, and it’s easy to adapt to our own capability.
Dance has been linked to improving a range of cognitive functions including memory, and the ability we have to multitask, and it can help older people’s brains form new interconnections and work more quickly2. Not only that, but because we have to learn new steps and techniques and possibly work with a partner or group, dance presents challenges to the brain that help keep it healthy3
2. Mental wellbeing
The therapeutic nature of exercise is often forgotten. Beyond the many benefits to our physical health, it can also be fantastic for our overall mental health. We all have a pea-sized gland inside our brains (called our pituitary gland), which releases endorphins when we exercise. These go all around your body to help you feel happier and more content, but also less stressed and less susceptible to feelings of physical discomfort or pain. By doing some exercise that we enjoy, we get a mood-enhancing boost afterwards! Dancing helps us to achieve all these great benefits. It helps us to feel happier in the moment, more optimistic and less stressed. Even if it’s just a jig to some music in the kitchen when nobody is looking!
3. Benefits of the music
While dance brings us so many benefits that are typical with exercising in general, the fact that we dance to music means it comes with even more benefits. Music has a positive impact on the brain and its function, but it also has an effect on our bodies as we react to the beat of the music4. Discover more in our article on the benefits of music.
Most of us love listening to some music, periodically or avidly. However, music may well have some amazing benefits to our health; our mental and cognitive health, especially. Some studies suggest that music could help us to learn more effectively, memorise and process simple tasks better, reduce the impact of anxiety and possibly even symptoms of depression5.Music often drives us to move more! And when we do, we begin to get all the great benefits listed above.
4. Dancing can be sociable
If you decide to go to a class rather than dancing at home, it can be a great way to meet new people and is also a great activity to do with loved ones and friends. Dancing provides a great opportunity to be social at the same time. But beyond this, it helps us to feel good. And when we feel good about something or have a sense of achievement as a result, we often feel like sharing.
5. It’s fun!
Getting moving is all about finding what you enjoy and what feels good. Dance is a great way to switch off from the busyness of our daily lives and concentrate on the moves, the music and just having a good time. Find some time to be active, do a dance in the house – even if it’s just by yourself! It’s a great thing to simply allow yourself to feel happy in the moment, connected and creative.
One of the Feelgood Health journeys we’ve followed is with professional dancer, Alex. We spoke to Alex to find out more about what dance means to him, how it has helped him to find his feelgood and also how moving can be such a powerful thing. Alex describes dance as being “more than just about the movement and the activity for me, it’s actually become my personal bible for navigating and understanding who I really am as a person,” showing that how and why we get moving are so important for our mental and physical health and can have such positive impacts on how we feel.
One of the best things that we can do to feel better, to feel good about our health, is actually to do a little bit of exercise, so why not join us in the journey to discover your feelgood? Put some music on, have a dance around the house or follow a tutorial and see how you feel afterwards. It might just be the exercise you’ve been looking for.
Discover more ways to boost you mental and physical health in a way that works for you in our Feelgood Health hub, or why not check out our Feelgood mindsets. We’ve five profiles that describe different people’s approach to their health and wellbeing, with tailored suggestions of content for each. Which one are you? www.axahealth.co.uk/feelgoodhealth