Before we are even old enough to walk, we have an innate ability to dance. Have you ever seen a baby bopping along to the beat of a song? This deep-rooted love of movement has embedded dance as a universal joy. This means that no matter your background, language, religion, gender or ability, everyone can participate in the act of dancing.
Professional dancer, choreographer and instructor and is the director of 100% DANCE studio, Jess Innes shares the countless benefits seen when we add dance to our lives.
The fitness benefits are some of the most obvious with dance burning between 400-1200 kilojoules per hour. The low impact movement in dance helps to increase bone density whilst the muscles are toned and strengthened through lifting your own bodyweight. Flexibility is also an added bonus as muscles are lengthened through stretching and technique work.
Those who don’t dance can be heard describing themselves as having “two left feet” however the co-ordination that dancers possess is a learned skill and something that can be improved with even just a few dance lessons. Proprioception is often referred to as the “sixth sense” and it is your body’s ability to know where you are in space at any given moment. Our proprioception can be greatly improved by the many balances, rises and controlled movements of dance.
Memory and brain health:
Dance creates a link in the brain between thinking and doing which is referred to as muscle memory. Like any muscle this can be trained, making dance a great form of mental exercise. Dance has also been proven to improve cognitive thinking and neuroplasticity leading experts to believe it could decrease your risk of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Many of us have busy work and home lives however there is nothing like your very own “dance family” to keep your circle broad. A dance class is a great place to meet new friends and connect with likeminded individuals. It’s also a great place to take your existing friends, family member or partner as you bond over the shared enjoyment of learning something new.
All physical activity releases feel good endorphins and dance has the added benefit of increasing dopamine production due to its relationship with music. These chemicals in the brain will have you feeling a sense of wellbeing, motivation and euphoria.
The final and most important benefit is it’s just plain FUN! In the words of Martha Graham – “Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”
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