Benefits of Dancing & Quick Tips for Staying Healthy

By Barbara Craddock

The Benefits of Dancing

1. Forever Young. Dancing is tremendously beneficial in keeping us young. It retards the aging process immensely. It benefits our heart, cardiovascular system and increases our lung capacity. Fact: The muscle exertion and breathing rates of dancers performing in one dance competition is equivalent to those of cyclists, swimmers and an Olympic-level 800-meter runner.

2. Strong Bones, Lubricated Joints. Dance aids in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, which is a major concern for woman, especially during post-menopause because of the significant drop in estrogen that occurs at this stage. A decrease in our estrogen levels is what stops calcium from being absorbed into our bones. Dance also keeps joints lubricated, which helps prevent arthritis.

3. Calorie Blaster. Dance exercises our bodies to allow for increased circulation. It helps us burn those calories away, while improving our stamina. It is estimated that dance burns anywhere from 5 to 10 calories per minute depending on speed and intensity. For example, swing and mambo burn more calories than a slow waltz. Check out approximately how many calories you burn while dancing to your own tune:

STYLE OF DANCE

Approximate Calories Burned Per Hour

100 lb. Dancer

125 lb. Dancer

150 lb. Dancer

175 lb. Dancer

200 lb. Dancer

Disco, Ballroom, Square, Latin, Mambo, Salsa

264

330

396

462

528

Fast, Ballet, Twist

288

360

432

504

576

Slow, Waltz, Foxtrot

144

180

216

252

288

 

4. Better Blood. New research has discovered that it is necessary to measure both good and bad cholesterol levels when determining our health. Dancing aids in lipid control, which raises our HDL (good cholesterol), and lowers our LDL (bad cholesterol). Dancing is also great for diabetics because it aids in blood sugar control.

5. Mental Mastery. Dance improves our memory by making us recall steps, routines and dance patterns making it a great mental exercise for our brains. The big benefit is that increasing mental exercise keeps your mind young, quick, alert and open.

6. It’s All About Balance. Balancing yourself in one position may be easy, but balancing in the numerous types of positions involved in dancing is much more difficult. Dancers have mastered the ability to balance themselves in a number of positions. This strengthens our stabilizer muscles, while protecting our core and keeping us less prone to injury in our daily lives. Dancing also aids in co-ordination and helps strengthen our reflexes. It is a great way to keep our Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System in tip-top shape by improving the connection of our bodies to our mind.

 

7. Socially Satisfying. Dancing is recreational and entertaining. It creates a social life for us, while affording us the opportunity to make new friends. Friends helps us grow, make us laugh and support us as we learn.

8. Culturally Diverse. Dancing has no cultural barriers. People from all parts of the world, with different ideologies, meet on the dance floor. Cultural interaction improves our health by expanding our mind and sharing our spirit!

9. Groomed to perfection. Dancing is not only fun and romantic, but it helps promote good grooming because everybody wants to look his or her best while they dance. Good grooming keeps us healthy by keeping us high on hygiene.

10. A Happy Self. Dance elevates our mood by raising our endorphin levels. This is what allows us to heal stress and depression – two of our immune system’s biggest enemies! It helps us establish our self-confidence and self-discipline. It improves the harmony between our mind and body, giving us a sense of well-being.

Quick Tips for Staying Healthy

These are a few quick and easy steps that we should follow and apply to our lives to ensure that as dancers, we maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Kick the smoking habit and limit alcohol intake.

If you are overweight, go on a sensible diet. Cut back on saturated fat intake, eat more fruits and vegetables and take a daily multi-vitamin and calcium supplement.

Add strength and resistance training exercises to your workout.

Get plenty of rest and sleep.

Have an annual physical examination, with a cardiac risk profile and a base-line bone density. For women, include a GYN exam and mammogram. For men, see your urologist for a prostate screening.

Reduce Stress! Reduce stress via meditation, joining a support group, massage therapy, aromatherapy. Be sure to take time for yourself every day, even if it is just fifteen minutes.

Immerse yourself in something that you enjoy and something that is just for you. Reward yourself with a special treat, whether it is something that you have always wanted or something that you have always wanted to do.

Be kind and gentle to yourself!

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