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With the popularity of the UK’s Strictly Come Dancing, and its USA spin off Dancing with the Stars, the whole dancing craze has really taken off and what could be better for your health. Dancing on a regular basis burns lots of calories, boosts your fitness health and with the current Alzheimer’s epidemic, lowers your risk of dementia by an astounding 76%. Frequent dancing makes us smarter with growing evidence that stimulating one’s mind can ward off those aging diseases, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit. Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages. By integrating several brain functions at once, dancing increasing our connectivity. Dancing simultaneously involves kinesthetic, rational, musical and emotional processes.
Should you be dancing too? There really is no contest
I have two friends on facebook who are ecstatic about their dancing – one took up salsa and now enters competitions and has even travelled from Europe (where she lives) to Cuba for a salsa vacation; while the other is enthralled with zumba and has become so proficient that she has qualified as an instructor to teach her own zumba classes to others. She tells me that she started zumba to lose weight but now she has such fun and she finds that her two young children can join in too at home with her.
Dancing is the way to go
Of course we are not saying you have to become a professional dancer but taking it up as an enjoyable hobby or form of exercise is perhaps the way to go. Even if you are not able to join a class or feel a little self conscious, put on some music and dance around the house – it will certainly take the tedium out of doing housework and chores!
A great way for people of all ages to get and stay in shape, dancing has a long list of health benefits. And if you take up dancing and perhaps your other lifestyle choices are not 100% healthy such as diet, smoking and others, you might be encouraged to change there too.
To excel at dancing you require flexibility, strength and endurance but even as an amateur, you will acquire these attributes to a lesser degree. If you join a class, or start dancing in another way, you will find it is a great social activity, contributing to your sense of well being, a higher self esteem and an improved positive outlook. Dancing provides many opportunities to meet other people and of course the physical activity will help to relieve any stress and tension.
Smiling and laughing while dancing comes as second nature
We have mentioned strength, endurance and flexibility – dancing gives strength to the lung and the heart and strengthens the body muscles, minimizing the chances of the dreaded osteoporoses as it makes the bones stronger. Dancing increases the flexibility, agility and the coordination in the body. It also increases the awareness of spatial while enhancing physical confidence.
Like all exercise, dancing helps you lose weight
And dancing is nothing new – dancing therapies used today are based on ancient properties involving feelings of freedom. The first recorded dancing was among the ancient civilizations of the Middle East and India as well as the aboriginal people of the Americas, Australia and Africa. Actual dance forms appear to have been in place in India around 6000 B.C. In the Americas, Australia and Africa the aboriginal people danced both for spiritual reasons and for entertainment. Such dances still influence today.
I have mentioned salsa and zumba but there are many forms of dancing – Jazz, Cuban salsa, hip-hop, ballet, contemporary and more. Every dance form is equally beneficial in providing ways to gain a healthy life. The only decision you have to make is which dance form you would like to take up.