Have you ever wondered why you can literally boogie all night long? Or after dancing all night, why you leave the dance party rejuvenated? Or why after dancing the night away, your mood is lifted?
What if I tell you dancing the night away taps into so many areas of the brain? All of your neural networks fire at once – physical, emotional, and social. It’s a cerebral workout that done regularly can keep us sharp well into old age.
Balance – By balancing yourself as you are constantly moving and changing positions, you activate your stabilizing muscles that help to improve your posture, and of course the long-term benefit of coordination. Dancing is a sport that involves your entire body.
Flexibility- Dancing is a great way to improve your body’s flexibility! And don’t worry, I’m not talking about being able to do the splits like a gymnast. Just by moving and warming up your body, your muscles and tendons have more elasticity, and as a result your body becomes more flexible than normal. How does the saying go, “a body in motion, stays in motion”?
Brain Stimulation and Memory– Did you know that with the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, enhance your ability to learn new information, and improve your memory. When dancing, we are constantly tapping into our brain’s memory for all of those new moves we just learned in our lesson. Just think of how quickly your brain has to work in order for our bodies to respond with the right movements. Check my previous blog for more ways that dance can benefit your brain.
Improving Your Mood- Feeling anxious about attending that dance party? No worries, dancing has been proven to do wonders in the mood department. Some of the effects can reduce anxiety and depression. If you’ve ever heard Taylor Swift’s song– Shake it off, this is exactly what’s happening when you dance while feeling unwanted stress. As you dance the night away, you are diminishing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol and this why we feel so good afterward. Music ignites the regions of the brain that process sound and emotion. When rocking to your favorite tune your brain will reward you with the “happy hormone” dopamine. So keep moving and grooving, your brain will thank you! And by the way- did you know that some Dr’s have been able to eliminate the need for anti-depressants in a number of patients just by having them become more physically active to increase dopamine levels.
Heart and Lungs- I remember when I used to go out to dance Lindy Hop, and no matter how tired I got, I could still dance the next dance, then the next. I always wondered what kept me going? As you dance your blood vessels dilate to send a higher level of oxygenated blood (hemoglobin) to your muscles – voila, instant energy! I really love those energy-boosting endorphins!
Increase Confidence- You can receive some of these benefits by dancing with your girl pals, but physical contact on the dance floor (I.E – Ballroom dancing), may boost your testosterone, leading to increased self-confidence.
Metabolism- Dancing song after song at the dance party revs up your metabolism, helping to get rid of that unwanted belly fat. Just 30 minutes can count as your daily cardio and imagine the benefits and calorie burn of an hour and a half session. This doesn’t only apply to the obvious fast dances. Doing long, slow, controlled steps in dances like the Waltz require you to use your legs and thighs (your big muscle groups) which can get your heart rate up in a hurry!
Remember, you’re never too tired to go to a dance party. Not only will you get to practice your steps, but participating will also do some good for your brain, heart, lungs, balance, metabolism, elevate your mood, and so much more.
Live, Love, and Dance
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