Updated: Jul 4, 2022
Getting off our behinds, exercising and moving is more important than ever.
And here’s why!
© Copyright 2020 Artwork by Cordi Neckermann
Exercise is not only important for our physical health but also our mental health.
Choosing dance as your workout will give you all the physical benefits and more.
Dancing and especially dance fitness makes us sweat and burns calories. But dancing is more than “just a workout”.
It's benefits spill into all areas of our life from boosting confidence to enhanced cognitive skills. When you choose dance or dance fitness as your workout you get some extra benefits that not all other workout methods provide.
According to psychologist Dr Peter Lovatt of the University of Hertfordshire, “We appear to get a much bigger release of endorphins when we dance than during other forms of exercise”*.
Extra endorphins are a really cool super power to have. They help us strengthen our immune system and cause what is called the “runner's high”, the wonderful feeling we get after a great work out.
Nothing like the "dancer's high"
We can fall in love with dancing over and over again. There is so much variety out there with different styles of dance and music. Dance always has something new to offer to keep us coming back for more. And that is really the trick right? When you love your workout you will happily come back for more.
Brain health has become more and more relevant in the past years. In several studies it has been discovered that dance can decidedly improve brain health.
Dancing is a fantastic challenge for our brain.
Copying the movements that we see quickly, staying in sync with the rhythm of the music and remembering movement patterns challenges our brain to form new neural passageways.
Adding these extra challenges of dance to your fitness routine will give you double the benefits and keep your brain sharp no matter what your age.
Balance and Coordination Power
Coordination and balance go hand in hand. When your coordination skills increase your ability to balance will too. Speaking about coordination hand-eye coordination is usually the first that comes to mind. Through dancing and dance fitness you can significantly improve your ability to use all parts of the body in unison in a smooth and graceful way.
Repetition and practice are the magic word when it comes to improving coordination and balance.
When following along in a dance fitness class you hone all your cognitive skills as you are copying your Instructor.
And with every class you take this ability to quickly translate the moves improves as well as your sense of balance.
Meditation in its traditional form of sitting down and being still doesn't necessarily work for everyone. But you can achieve the entire positive after effect of meditation through dancing.
The first step in meditation is to stop your mind from wandering and bring your mind into a one pointed focus into the present moment.
When attending a dance-fitness class you will soon realise that there is not much brain capacity left to think of anything else but the moves and music. Creating a one-point focus. You allow your mind to be engaged with only one thing and you can forget about all your stresses for the time being. It takes some practice to be able to let go and get lost in the music and movements. The first step is to be willing to let go and stay in the moment. It isn't easy to do, but the relieve of stress and the wonderful feeling of being centered and present are worth the effort.
Posture, Confidence and Expression Power
Posture, confidence and expression are closely related to each other when it comes to dancing and also in life. With good posture comes confidence and an enhanced ability to express and communicate our thoughts and feelings well to others.
The dance floor can be a testing ground of what it feels like when we step into fully being ourselves.
The music has a stimulating effect to inspire and motivate us even if we can't catch all the moves perfectly.
Working through these moments of imperfection and improvisation is good practice to allow ourselves to let go and not take ourselves too seriously.
I have felt and profited from all of these extra benefits of dance and dance fitness personally with the result that dancing always brings me back home to myself. Dancing inspires self-acceptance and self-love in us and brings humans from all cultures and walks of life together.
I have grown to believe that dance and music have no language, they are a language that every human being speaks fluently and we can use it to connect with each other.
Martha Graham said it perfectly:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
In dance fitness we are not looking for technical perfection. Instead the focus is on enjoying the moment the music and experimenting and learning in a relaxed and cheerful environment.
If reading about these Super Powers has made you curious, then book a class with me here. After all, trying it out is the best way of knowing.