The endless benefits of dancing
It’s hard not to feel joy while dancing. Whether that’s because you love the music, you’re dancing with a partner or laughing yourself silly trying to get the hang of choreography.
The beauty of dance is that no part of the body is left behind. It asks for people to be on their feet, coordinate their limbs and really turn the brain on. One of the best things about it? You usually don’t realise how physical it is while doing it.
If you’ve never given dancing a proper shot or it’s been a while and you’d like to pick it back up, here’s why you should.
Dancing can help all-round physicality
Research suggests dancing can be as beneficial as swimming, cycling or running on a treadmill.1 There are countless physical benefits, including increased muscle strength and tone, better flexibility and endurance, improved posture, coordination, aerobic ability, balance and spatial awareness. If it’s done at a high intensity, dancing helps with cardiovascular conditioning and strengthens key weight-bearing bones, including the hips. All of these things help us holistically and assist in doing other forms of exercise, too.
It can improve mental wellbeing
Why do people keep dancing? One study says it’s sustainable because it’s fun. But its mental health benefits go far beyond that. Dance increases our endorphin levels which can work wonders in improving our mood. It gives us the space to ease stress and tension.2 It puts us in touch with both body and mind, which can assist with self-esteem, self-belief and motivation. Dance classes also provide the chance to socialise and form new connections.
The brain loves to dance
Dance stimulates the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain involved in making decisions, predictions and creating new memories. It is an especially beneficial hobby as we age. A 21-year-long study found that out of 17 different leisure activities, social dancing had the highest association with a lower risk of dementia.3 It outdid activities such as reading, swimming, doing crossword puzzles and playing instruments. It’s believed this is because of the level of focus required, combined with social interaction.
There’s no age limit
Given how many different dance styles are out there, you can continue dancing through all stages of life. As you get older, you might opt for a waltz over a quickstep or a slower form of hip hop instead of breakdancing. The bottom line is there are always options to continue dancing. It’s all about re-evaluating what your body can manage and finding dance forms to suit your needs.
Get Active Victoria has dance tutorials for hip hop, jazz, Bollywood and many more dance styles. Check them out and find something you can enjoy.
- Alpert, Patricia T. 2010. “The Health Benefits of Dance.” Home Health Care Management & Practice 23 (2): 155–57. https://doi.org/10.1177/1084822310384689.
- García-González, Luis, Mónica Santed, Elena Escolano-Pérez, and Javier Fernández-Río. 2022. “High- versus Low-Structured Cooperative Learning in Secondary Physical Education: Impact on Prosocial Behaviours at Different Ages.” European Physical Education Review, October, 1356336X2211327. https://doi.org/10.1177/1356336×221132767.
- Verghese, Joe, Richard B Lipton, Mindy J Katz, Charles B Hall, Carol A Derby, Gail Kuslansky, Anne F Ambrose, Martin Sliwinski, and Herman Buschke. 2003. “Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly.” The New England Journal of Medicine 348 (25): 2508–16. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa022252
Last updated: July 26, 2023 at: 12:56 pm