Dancing is not only a form of art and expression, it is also an activity that fosters good health and fitness in both children and adult. It is no doubt that more and more people are getting into groove knowing that its heath benefits are aplenty.
Dancing for Young People
Many children take a stab at dancing when their parents enroll them in tap or ballet classes. Some even stick with it all the way through adolescence to make a career of it. Shows like Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and World of Dance have also opened the dance world to multi-generational audiences.
This also paved the way for people to share their talents and join competitions. Apart from the monetary prize and career opportunities, being able to reduce weight and achieve fitness are what make dancing a partner to wellness.
Young people who are inclined to dancing learn and develop lessons in life that contribute to their overall growth and self-improvement. Apart from enhancing their social skills, they too invigorate discipline, sportsmanship, teamwork, memorisation, creativity, endurance, and self-expression.
As for dance classes, a variety of lessons are being offered in dance academies and schools today such as ballet, jazz, tap dance, modern hip-hop, Polynesian, and even ballroom. As of today, the combination of these styles make dancers more expressive in terms of movements and exhibitions.
Dancing for Adults
Not all dancing activities are applicable to adults, especially the elderly. Since some dance styles are high-intensity in nature, seniors are not encouraged to participate in such kind. Ballroom is the most appropriate for their age as this only requires light movements.
Interestingly, ballroom dancing is an activity that captivates the elderly group because they have a better understanding of its history. Ballroom dancing is a great part of social gatherings and events in the past. Some of the most common dances are waltz, tango, rumba and salsa.
As seen in ballroom competitions, these dances are being participated by young adults to middle-aged groups and it turns out that these events have reached the global scene.
The Health Benefits of Dancing
Dancing is for everyone and so are the benefits. Both physical and mental health can be bolstered by dancing, no matter what style is chosen. As you engage to any dancing activity, you do conquer the following benefits:
1. Enhancement of Balance and Coordination
The powerful thing about dance is the precise coordination and execution it requires. Whether it’s two-stepping with a partner, or simply learning hip-hop moves on your own, precision is required.
Synchronising your hands, feet, and eyes to work together helps you stay balanced, agile, and fluid. And as you increase the speed and vary the steps, formations, and movements, you’ll challenge your body (and brain) more and more.
If you are a senior with mobility problems, you can absolutely still take part in dancing. Find dance classes and events near you that are adapted for mobility limitations, and utilise mobility aids like stylish but reliable canes to keep you mobile.
2. Strengthened Cognitive Functioning
A 2017 study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience revealed wow-worthy findings regarding the effects of dancing on both balance and brain structure. A group of elderly adults was tracked through two 18-month fitness routines, one of which involved dancing.
In addition to improved balance, dancing participants also experience increased activity in the region of their brain called hippocampus which is responsible for comprehension, problem-solving, and memory.
Dancing is very beneficial to elderly people because it helps prevent cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia. As we age, memory is an aspect in our health which weakens over time.
3. Development of Social Skills and Self-Confidence
One of the best parts of a dancing hobby is the frequent social interaction and friendship you’ll encounter. Talking, dancing, and sharing experiences with like-minded people who also enjoy this hobby could be your ticket to fighting anxiety and depression.
Dancing and social clubs oftentimes hold fundraisers and galas and take part in fetes or cultural shows as well, giving you a wider breadth of social activities you can enjoy.
4. Prevention of Lifestyle Diseases
If you haven’t heard, sitting has been called “the new smoking” for its surprisingly powerful links to lifestyle diseases (like diabetes, obesity, heart disease) and even early death. The key to reversing the effects of sitting has been shown in some studies to complete an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise for every 8 hours you spend sitting.
Standing won’t cut it on its own – its movement that people must achieve to stave off the degradation to your heart (and waistline) that can come with prolonged sitting. Dancing is one of the best solutions you will find. In addition to being adaptable to many age groups and ability levels, dancing is:
- Low-impact and therefore easier on the joints (good for people with arthritis)
- A weight-bearing activity which can help strengthen bone density (and fight osteoporosis)
- An exercise in flexibility which can help stretch tight muscles and relieve painful tension
- A confidence and mood-booster that promotes physical fitness and self-esteem
- Just plain fun!
Want to get started with dancing but not sure where to start? Try looking online first – search for local classes for your age group and interests, check with your local senior centre or social club, or visit Dance Magazine online to check out their list of adult dance classes.
If you’re concerned about looking silly when you go, don’t fret, you’re not alone. Adult dance classes are judgment-free and even better with a friend so invite one along!