Just Show Up and Dance… The Positive Benefits of Dancing

Dancing &is often neglected and underrated when it comes to cardiovascular and fitness activities. You don\’t even need a partner for many dance styles. Only you and your proper footwear are required.

Mary is an example of this. She can\’t recall a time she didn\’t love to dance. Or she will sway to the beat of music. She thought it was dancing, but others saw her just moving to the beat of the music. This beat she often heard in her head was different from what others heard. Her middle school band teacher said to her that she \”lacked rhythm.\” She was a snicker when she was on the dance floor in high school and college. She didn\’t pay attention to anyone around her, just dancing to her own rhythm. In the old days, men would approach you and ask you to dance at school parties or school dances. Rarely was she asked to dance. Despite being shy, her love for dancing enabled her to feel comfortable dancing by herself and with others. Her best friend, who was considered a \”good dancer\” and was often asked to dance with her, said that she looked like a chicken dancing on the dance floor. This was before the \”funky chicken\” dance was popular.

Forty plus years later, Mary still moves to the music. She does this often in her own privacy. It is her main form of exercise. I noticed her strength and muscle tone and agility, which is unusual for someone in her 60s. She also had a very strict fitness regime. Perhaps she even has a personal trainer. She told me she is very careful about her diet and dances at least three to four times per week. Sometimes she does it alone in her own home, other times she takes her partner out. She dances alone, and without a partner, every time. She said that music has been a passion of hers since childhood. Even if she couldn\’t get in 20 or 30 minutes, she would still \”sway\” to the music. Mary loves many music genres but her favourite is reggae. She said that reggae is her favorite genre because it allows her to \”sway\” anywhere and anytime.

Dancing is a popular recreational activity that is often undervalued and overlooked for its positive effects on physical and mental health. This is especially true for older people and those with mobility issues. There are many benefits to dancing, regardless of what style or genre you choose (there are many, including tap, reggae, hip hop, ballroom, etc.). There are many reasons to dance, regardless of your age or physical limitations. These are my top three favorites:

* It\’s FUN! You can dance when you are relaxed and let your mind wander. You will find that dancing is a fulfilling experience because of the music, rhythm and movements. Zumba(r), a Latin-inspired cardio-based dance-fitness program, creates an exhilarating party atmosphere. It is easy to follow and great for your mind, body, and soul. The playlist should include some of my favorite songs. This increases the fun factor for me.

* HEALTH & FITNESS. No matter what style or genre you choose, dancing can give you a great way to work out. The amount of calories you burn in an hour will vary depending on your body weight and how intense the routine is. At moderate to high intensity, dancing may burn approximately 200 calories an hour. You get a cardiovascular workout and major muscle movements. Dancing can improve muscle tone, strength endurance flexibility and agility. It allows joints to move freely and increases range of motion.

* SOCIAL INTERACTION. Dance is an exciting form of exercise. It also offers the opportunity to improve your social interactions with likeminded people in a safe, non-judgmental and fun environment. You can increase your social networks and learn new skills. Dance floor is where many lasting friendships and relationships begin.

It is never too late for you to get into dancing. It doesn\’t matter if you have rhythm or can jump, bend or kneel. It doesn\’t matter what your definition of \”good\” is. You just need to \”show up\” and move – no matter if you are marching in place, waving arms, or moving side-to-side. Even sitting in a chair is possible. You don\’t have to be sitting or standing, just move. You will be a blessing to your body, mind, and soul – now and in the future