Benefits of Dance
By Patricia Jimenez
Dance is the marriage of art and athletics, stamina and grace, music and movement and mind-body-spirit. In addition to the normal benefits of regular exercise, dance does more than build muscles and increase strength and flexibility. Dance has been shown to improve memory and attention skills and help the brain to form new interconnections, to work faster and more efficiently. Keep in mind this does not mean "shaking your booty" freestyle dancing but dancing that utilizes memory and coordination such as hip hop, jazz, Cardio dance, ballroom dance and street social dances such as Westcoast swing, Lindy Hop and Salsa.
Whether you're flowing across the floor with a beautiful waltz, getting funky with hip-hop or taking a ballet class, you are using your mind, releasing tension, having fun and getting a great workout. It is well known that maintaining a fit body helps improve brain function. There is also new evidence that dance boosts brain power and offers therapy to assist with Alzheimer's and resistance to disease, especially autoimmune diseases.
Dance helps increase the temporal and prefrontal activity to improve retaining of information and memorization, multi-tasking, planning and attention skills.
Following are other top health benefits of dance.
1. Science has proven that regular exercise improves the mood, decreases anxiety, improves sleep, and raises self-esteem. Dance is an activity that is fun that most do not think of as "exercise".
2. Benefits come from come from chemical changes that go on in your brain. Strenuous exercises can double the blood volume in the brain and oxygen to the brain. Your brain needs blood to carry oxygen in order to operate and circulate the neurotransmitters.
3. During a half hour of sustained dancing you can burn between 200 and 400 calories. Because dancing is also social, it usually lasts 2 to 4 hours.
4. Other benefits of rigorous dancing include reduced heart rate, lower blood pressure and an improved cholesterol profile (Medical Essay, June 1991).
5. Rhythm and musicality- Moving to syncopated rhythms of music increases rhythm, and coordination
7. Social Fun- Dancing offers what most fitness activities do not have. It gives you an opportunity to develop additional friendships which contribute to a positive outlook (see Mayo Clinic Health Letter, February 1992)
8. Flexibility - Dancers and athletes must strive to achieve full range of motion for all the major muscle groups. Cardio Dance, Yoga Dance and Dancers Core workout classes begin with a warm-up including loosening techniques to balance and stretch muscles on each side of the joints.
9. Strength and Endurance - regular dancing is great for improving endurance and strength especially vigorous dancing such as Jazz, hip hop and cardio type fitness dancing such as Cardio Dance.
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