Why Dance is the Best Exercise for Your Brain and BodyJan 07, 2023
by Stephanie Larson,
Dance is often thought of as a fun activity, but it can also be a highly effective form of exercise for both your brain and body. Let's explore some of the many benefits of dance and why it's the best exercise for your overall health.
Dance can be a great form of low-impact exercise. It's easy on your joints and can provide a full-body workout without putting too much strain on your body. This makes it an excellent option for people of all ages and fitness levels, including those who are pregnant or postpartum, and those who may have injuries or other physical limitations.
Dance is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise. It gets your heart rate up and can help to improve your cardiovascular health. By incorporating dance into your exercise routine, you can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health. If you’re pregnant, dancing gives a double benefit, by also improving the cardiovascular health of your baby. A study published in the journal Clinical Medicine Insights: Women's Health found that regular exercise during pregnancy was associated with improved cardiovascular fitness in both the mother and the baby.
Dancing is great for your brain. Dance isn't just good for your physical health - it's also great for your brain. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that regular dance participation was associated with a 76% reduced risk of dementia in older adults. Dancing was the only physical activity associated with a lower risk of dementia. Another study published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement found that dance participation improved cognitive function and memory in older adults. Dancing also increases brain connectivity. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that dancing increased functional connectivity in the brain, particularly in the regions responsible for coordination, balance, and memory.
Dancing reduces stress and improves mental health. When you dance you enter a state of 'flow' in which you're very present in the moment and not thinking about other things. A review of studies published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that dance participation was associated with reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.
Dancing can improve your mood by boosting your happy hormones, or endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that are produced by the body and act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. When you dance, your body releases endorphins, which can help to improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Dancing increases flexibility, balance, and coordination. When you dance you increase and extend your range of motion, by reaching, bending, arching, and twisting. Your body responds by becoming more flexible. When your muscles are more flexible, they are better able to support and move your body. Dancing requires you to shift your weight and move your body in many different directions, and to move multiple parts of your body at the same time. This helps to improve both your balance and your coordination.
Dancing increases strength, particularly in your core, legs, arms, and back. When you dance, you lift and move your limbs, and your own body weight, which can help to strengthen your muscles. It’s very effective for overall physical fitness.
Dancing Improves sleep. Moving while you're awake can help you rest and get quality sleep at night. When you activate both your brain and your body through dance, it follows that sleep comes more easily. Studies show that dance participation is associated with improved sleep quality.
Dancing is for everyone. If you dance, you’re by definition a dancer! So don’t miss out on this fun and extremely beneficial form of exercise because you think it’s for others but not for you. Overall, the research shows that dancing can have a number of positive effects on your brain and body, including improving cognitive function, increasing brain connectivity, reducing stress and improving mental health, and improving coordination and balance. So go ahead and when your favorite song comes on, let your body do what it wants to do—dance!
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