Health Advocate Blog

Dancing Your Way to Better Health

Do you enjoy dancing? If so, you may want to consider dancing as fun way to get, and stay, in good shape. Read on to learn about some of the potential health benefits of dancing!

Increased flexibility. Being flexible is an important part of being healthy. Most forms of dance require bending and stretching that allow the muscles to flex and extend, which can reduce stiffness and ease joint pain.

More endurance. Since dance is a physical exercise, it can help you build endurance. Endurance allows the muscles to work harder for longer periods of time without fatigue. Engaging in vigorous dancing, such as jazz or line dancing, can improve one’s endurance level.

Potential weight loss.  You may be able to cha-cha your way to a smaller pants size through dance. A study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that a program of aerobic dance training helped participants lose weight and increase their aerobic endurance and stamina. Like other moderate exercise activities such as brisk walking, cycling or aerobics, dancing can help tone your body and increase your metabolism to burn calories. For example, according to the American Council on Exercise, a 160-lb.person can burn 130 calories in 30 minutes by doing rhythmic dances like the foxtrot or waltz.

Better balance. As we get older, our risk of falling increases – mostly due to decreased muscle strength and trouble with balance.  Because dancing often requires a lot of fast movement, you can improve your muscle strength and increase stabilization.

Improved well-being.  Dance is a social activity that can provide many opportunities to meet other people. Being socially engaged can increase self-confidence and happiness, while reducing stress.

Dancing is a convenient form of physical activity because you can do it nearly anywhere and with anyone—you can try it on your own, with your family, a partner, or group of friends. Plus, there are so many different types of dance you can try, including (but certainly not limited to!) square dancing, line dancing, folk dancing, ballroom, belly dancing, jazz, tap and salsa. If one type of dance doesn’t seem to suit you, there are many other types to try.

If you aren’t already dancing regularly and want to get started with a dance class or routine, remember to talk to your doctor—your doctor may have recommendations about what types of dance are best for you. Since some types of dance are more rigorous than others, ask your physician if there are any physical restrictions that you need to keep in mind before you start dancing.

Looking for low-cost ways to get your dance on?  Consider these fun ideas:

  • Look for some dance schools or dance halls that hold social dances that are open to the public.
  • Join a community dance troupe that performs for local retirement homes or nursing homes. You could get the benefit of physical activity while giving back to the community.
  • Rent dance DVDs from your local library, turn up the music, and have your own dance party alone or with friends.

For more healthy, low-cost tips and ideas, check out The Healthcare Survival Guide!