Most people see dancing as a mere social activity that can only give them momentary pleasure and nothing more. But this is not true as you will soon find out that there are numerous health benefits that can accrue to you when you dance. Interestingly, dancing is such a dynamic activity with various styles existing in different parts of the world under diverse names from Jazz, hip-hop, ballet and salsa to the Brazilian samba dance. Moreover, the bottom line is no matter what style of dance you prefer, lots of benefits await you as discussed below
1. Reduces Risk of Dementia
It’s been shown that dancers tend to have a lower risk of dementia. The likely explanation for this effect is that dancing prevents shrinkage of the hippocampus, a brain part normally responsible for memory function. Hence, by preserving your hippocampus, dancing can help you keep your memory intact for longer and stave off dementia. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, dancing boosts your memory and makes you less likely to suffer from dementia as you grow older. Similarly, a study was embarked upon by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine over a period of 21 years. They found that adults who indulged in regular dance reduced their risk of developing dementia by 76%.
2. Relieves Joint Pain and Stiffness
Most forms of dancing tend to strengthen your muscles and joints as well as enhance your flexibility. Obviously, this may help to relieve the pain and stiffness across your joints. Following a study at the Saint Louis University, researchers concluded that older adults suffering from hip and knee discomfort may safely substitute dancing shoes for their pain medications. Furthermore, dancing helps you to achieve a full range of motion in all the major joints and muscle groups which lowers your risk of musculoskeletal injuries such as strains and sprains. In the same vein, it may also lessen your risk of arthritis by lubricating your joints.
3. For Stronger Bones and Muscles
According to Lamarck’s theory of use and disuse, any body organ that is subjected to constant use develops and vice-versa. Dancing is a weight-bearing activity; hence it subjects the major bones and muscles to heavy use thereby enhancing the strength and density of the bones. For this reason, dancing helps to reduce the incidence of osteoporosis among men and women, especially postmenopausal women who are more prone to osteoporosis and fractures.
4. Facilitates Healthy Weight Loss
If you want to burn some calories and stay fit and healthy, I recommend you put on your dancing shoes and dance to your favourite tune. Naturally, the body converts excess calories into fat and stores it under the skin and around vital organs. This ultimately leads to obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes which are inimical to your health. Why not burn off those excess calories as you treat yourself to some nice dance? In addition, dancing has been shown to enhance lipid and blood sugar control. It raises the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) otherwise known as good cholesterol in the blood and lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
5. Lessens Risk of Depression
Dancers are less likely to suffer from mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. While dancing, chemicals like endorphins are released and this helps to dissipate stress thereby making you feel happy and relaxed. Similarly, dancing boosts your self-esteem and increases your sense of well-being. According to the Journal of Applied Gerontology, partner dance accompanied by good music, tends to bring about significant relief from stress.
6. Treatment of Chronic Dizziness
Have you ever wondered how professional dancers manage to spin several times and still maintain their balance? For the uninitiated, they lose balance after spinning because the fluid in the vestibular organs of the inner ear continue to move even when they are done spinning and the brain interprets it as though they had not stopped. However, consistent training has suppressed this reflex in dancers and their perception of spinning is often short. This phenomenon is still being explored as it can be applied for the treatment of individuals suffering from chronic dizziness.
In view of the aforementioned, I believe you will not hesitate to put on your dancing shoes, take to the dance floor and reap the rewards of dancing.