The Health Benefits of Dancing
By Fiona Ellis
I LOVE dancing and its one of the best forms of exercise to help us stay young. It has a huge range of both physical and mental benefits. It can…
Dancing can help slow the speed of brain ageing. Science has shown that aerobic exercise can reverse volume loss in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that controls memory. The hippocampus naturally shrinks by up to 20% during late adulthood, which often leads to impaired memory and sometimes dementia.
Improve Muscle Strength
An experiment following 20 elderly men and women who danced for 3 hours a week, showed after 6 months a 15% increase in muscle strength compared to little improvement in a comparison group training in a gym for the same length of time.
Dancing can help increase flexibility and reduce stiffness. You don’t need any special equipment to dance, just put on some music you enjoy and get moving! Increasing your flexibility will help ease joint pain and post-exercise soreness.
Chronic stress is known to have a number of negative health impacts. Insomnia, weight gain, an increased risk for heart disease as well as significantly impairing the immune, digestive and central nervous systems. Researchers have found that dancing with a partner to music can help bring about stress relief.
A study looking at people with depression found that dancing can be very effective at improving mood. Aerobic exercise elevates levels of both dopamine (the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward) and euphoria-inducing endorphins plus the rhythm of the music gives the brain something to focus on.
Help Your Heart
An Italian study found that people with heart failure who took up waltzing improved their heart function, ability to breathe more easily and quality of life in comparison to a similar group who cycled or walked on a treadmill on a regular basis.
Looking from a purely aerobic point of view, dancing is as effective for weight loss as jogging or cycling. Weight loss can help improve your self-esteem and confidence.
Good balance is key to reducing the risk of falls in older adults. Dancing is brilliant at improving balance as it helps you to improve your posture and position sense enabling you to gain a greater control over daily movements.
A weekly dance program has been shown to improve physical performance and increase energy levels among adults.
Dancing is a great social activity and having positive social relationships is just as important to your overall health as healthy eating and exercise! Healthy relationships lead to increased happiness, reduced stress, and a stronger immune system.
Dancing is a great way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Jump up and give it a go!
Anyone who watched the BBC programme “How To Stay Young” last week will have seen dancing being recommended as a fun way to keep fit.
Local Dance Classes in Surrey
Here are some ideas for local dance classes, as recommended on Facebook:
Dance-Off run adult street dance classes in Petersfield. A little way to travel from Haslemere, but it’s a great group of ladies from 16 years to 50. They also offer kids classes in Liss and Dance parties for all ages and occasions around Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex.
Lannoy School of Performing Arts runs adult and children’s classes in ballet, tap, modern, street dance and musical theatre!
Karen Streetnation Nadeana runs a street dance school based in Haslemere from 3yrs – 18yrs, and currently hoping to bring back her super successful adult classes in the new year! StreetNation also comes recommended by our Receptionist Natasha whose son does Street Dancing there!
Hilary Marston School of Ballet runs classes for children up to 18 years old.
Other suggestions include 5 Rhythms Dancing in Midhurst, and Planet Dance and Fitness Academy.