- By: Jordyn Cormier
While not everyone may be as incredible as Misty Copeland, everybody and anybody can benefit from giving dance a try. Whether you try ballet, tango or just freestyle with your friends, dancing of any sort confers some incredible health benefits.
Improve learning & memory
Dancing and learning dances activates the cognitive center of the brain and encourages neural plasticity. This means that neurons are healthier and more adaptable throughout life, meaning better cognitive function as you age. Especially in later years, skills and neurons enhanced through dance are incredibly important in maintaining memory function. It is also one of the few forms of physical activity that effectively protects against dementia.
Like any form of exercise, dance promotes the release of hormones in the body — like endorphins — that make you feel good. But be warned, that great feeling that dancing creates is addictive — in the best way possible! Dancing also improves posture, which is a plus for all of the computer-slumped spines out there. Beyond appearing more attractive and confident, better posture has actually been scientifically correlated with a better overall mood and outlook.
Again, as a form of exercise, dancing reduces the amount of stress hormones in your body. Not only is it a great form of physical activity, but it is a prime vehicle for creativity and emotional expression. For these reasons, it is also known to reduce depression. Essentially, if you let yourself be in the moment, you can dance your worries away.
Why slog to the gym to suffer through another grueling workout when you could be dancing? Sure, weight training is important, especially as you age, but instead of hitting the elliptical machine, why not challenge your mind and body by taking a dance class? Dance works to improve blood and lymph flow, improve muscle tone, improve flexibility, and reduce bodily stiffness. What’s that mean? It’ll keep you enjoying life and aging gracefully for years to come!
And, although it should be implied, let’s not forget the most overlooked and most important reason for dancing — it’s fun! When it comes down to it, the most important things in life are fitting in more fun and not taking yourself too seriously. Give dance a try: be it flamenco, ballroom, hip hop, ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, bedroom freestyle, or Zumba. With an open mind, you’ll be rocking it on the dance floor.