Benefits of dancing: Mind and Body

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Dancing at a party, in the car or in the shower (you know who you are!) can be a blast! But there’s so much more to this beautiful art form. Dance studios around Australia offer many classes with different styles for all ages and experience levels. Whatever the style – from hip hop to ballroom or pole dancing to tap – dance has so much to offer! This creative outlet engages your mind and body, is a great way to exercise and is lots of fun!

Groovy health benefits

When it comes to exercise, dance classes are a spectacular way to get your body moving! You don’t even have to join a class, because you can weave dance into your workout at home too. Benefits of dancing include improved muscle tone and strength, weight loss, improved balance, spatial awareness and endurance.

If you’re looking to lose weight through dance, factors including the style you take up and how often you attend classes make a difference. For example, Zumba and other high intensity classes may be the right choice if your goal is weight loss. When trying to determine how frequently you should be dancing to manage weight, you can check how many calories each class burns and go from there.

Benefits of dancing: Dance the blues away

Aside from the physical benefits, dance also engages your mind and body spiritually and emotionally. This can have a positive effect on your mental health. Dancing on a regular basis decreases anxiety and stress, while offering a social environment where you can make new friends.

Listening to music and dancing is also beneficial in terms of how you brain reacts to both.

benefits of dancing

As dance works hand in hand with your emotions, you may also find a style or genre that speaks to you on a spiritual level.  In fact, it’s the combination of physical, mental and spiritual benefits of dance which is responsible for drawing so many people to dance studios in Australia.

When it comes to physical and mental wellbeing, here are some of the health benefits of dancing:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Improved social skills
  • Better cardiovascular health resulting in a stronger heart and resilient lungs
  • Higher mental functioning
  • Higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Improved coordination and motor abiliies
  • Higher levels of strength, agility, endurance and flexibility
  • Improved aerobic fitness
  • Development of stronger bones reducing chances of osteoporosis
  • Better sense of balance and spatial awareness
  • Better emotional health leading to improved state of general wellbeing

Getting started with dancing

To make the most of the health benefits of dancing, all you have to do is get started. Dancing is one of those activities that is highly flexible and adaptable – you don’t have to wait for anyone if you choose to dance alone or join a group. You can start dancing at dance schools, community centres, social gathering or even in your own room. The boom in dance fitness studios means that you can join a fitness centre and enjoy a fun workout.

You can choose to dance socially, as a hobby or even competitively. Its ease and convenience make it a preferred recreational and exercise choice for many as they seek the benefits of dancing. For most dance styles, you don’t need anything except comfy clothes and shoes, but that depends on the style of dance you choose. For instance, if you decide to start tap dancing classes, you will need the right shoes.

Benefits of dancing by style

benefits of dancing

You are spoilt for choice when deciding to choose among the different dance styles. Each one offers great emotional benefits but it is important to pick a style you enjoy rather than one which you believe delivers the maximum benefits of dancing. The most recognized styles are:

Ballet

Accompanied by classical music, this form of dancing enhances flexibility, strength and technique. The training you do for ballet helps you focus on achieving perfection and can be a meditative experience. You will need special shoes for this.

Hip-hop

A relatively newer form of urban dancing, hip-hop involves learning different techniques. It can be quite energetic so offers you the same benefits of cardio, and it also makes you look great on the dance floor.

Salsa

Influenced by Latin American, African and Caribbean cultures, this form of dancing usually requires a partner and emphasis on rhythms and sensuality. It is a great class for couples to join because it teaches you to work together and enjoy each other’s company. You may need heeled shoes for this.

Tap dancing

For this style, the benefits of dancing are most apparent on your cognitive abilities because it sharpens your sense of timing and rhythm. It can be a great cardio workout. You will need special shoes for this.

Belly dancing

Belly dancing has its genesis in the Middle East and has slowly been adapted all over the world as a fun form of exercising. It is great for core strength and to help lose weight and improve posture.

Ballroom dancing

This form of dancing requires a dance partner so is great to do with your partner or to meet new people. Many group classes for dancing also participate in competitions which can be exciting. You will need special shoes for this.

Jazz dancing

Jazz dancing is a free and liberating style that helps you become comfortable with your body and burns calories as you try kicks, leaps and turns.

Square dancing

This is a traditional form of dancing in formation with couples and is a fun group activity. It can help burn calories but the health benefits of dancing this style are more similar to ballroom dancing.

Pole dancing

Pole dancing is a powerful form of exercise because it enhances coordination, body strength and muscle endurance, as well as helping you feel confident and sensual.

If you find yourself confused about which form of dancing to choose, consider your responses to the following questions and you are sure to have your answer:

  • Do you prefer fast or slow movements?
  • Do you enjoy dancing alone or in a group?
  • What is more important: fitness or recreation?
  • Is your focus on strength or flexibility?
  • Would you want to dance socially or competitively?

How to make the most of the benefits of dancing

If you find yourself seriously considering the proposition of taking up dancing, consider the following tips to maximize the many benefits of dancing:

  • When starting out, it is important to not get carried away and push yourself too hard or too fast.
  • Prioritize fluidity and grace over all else
  • Make sure to cool down post a session by stretching adequately
  • Consult your medical practitioner before starting out any new exercise regimen especially if you are over 50 years of age or have any preexisting medical conditions
  • Warm up before each dance session.
  • Buy appropriate and quality gear suited to your dance style
  • Learn the correct form and technique before trying out ambitious moves which can increase your risk of injuries
  • Take rest days between tiring dance sessions to allow the body to recover effectively
  • Engage in some strength training exercise, if possible, to enhance muscle tone and endurance
  • Make sure to hydrate well before, during and after the dance sessions
health benefits of dancing

If you’d like to give dancing a whirl, visit Avaana now to find dance studios and classes near you.

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Amy Rae is a Canadian blog writer for Avaana, based in Melbourne, Australia. Fitness, travel and writing about her adventures are what she does best!

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