After a long weekend away in the Australian bush, dancing away for hours and hours, and feeling fantastic doing it, I felt that a post on the benefits of dance was in order. Dancing has innumerable health benefits and is a great way to improve your fitness, strength and flexibility, release unwanted stressors and emotions, improve co-ordination and have an all-round great time. Tribal societies have used dance as a means of communication, expression and storytelling for time immemorial. Dancing encourages the union of mind, body and spirit, and encourages presence in the ‘now.’ Letting go of the ego and surrendering to the flow of dance lays the foundation for increased creativity, cleansing and rebirth, and is a vital component of human existence and growth.
FLEXIBILITY & STRENGTH
Regular dancing increases flexibility – not only of the physical self, but of the mind as well. Increasing flexibility will help with joint pain and decreasing post-exercise muscle soreness, and will assist with general ease of movement in everyday life. Using body-weight exercises and the movements associated with dance strengthens and tones muscles, increasing overall strength, endurance and stamina.
Dancing is a social activity. Dancing in a group setting allows for social interaction and boosting of self-confidence. Dancing releases feel-good hormones, endorphins, and fosters a sense of vitality, wellbeing and satisfaction. Engaging in physical activity, along with the social aspects associated with attending a dance class all attribute to a greater sense of wellbeing and general health. Dancing alone has its benefits too, allowing for uncensored self-expression and release. Simply putting on some music and dancing around at home can garner the same physical and emotional benefits as attending a structured dance class or group.
STRESS REDUCTION & IMPROVEMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH
Movement and connection with music and sound are imperative to human consciousness and spiritual journeying. As with all forms of moving meditations, dance encourages stress reduction and elimination of doubt, worry, fear and anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine showed that dance improves cognitive function and memory, with the participants engaging in the cha-cha twice a week for six months and, as a result, improving on a number of tests. It has also been shown that some Alzheimer’s sufferers can recall memories when they dance to music that they used to know.
Dance is intertwined indefinitely with the human experience, creating stories, sharing ideas and being pivotal elements of almost every culture on Earth. Be inspired to dance to your own rhythm and don’t be afraid to move the way your soul desires. If the points above haven’t ignited the desire to dance within you, then I don’t know what will! Get your groove on!
Article by Rachel Carr
Rachel is a yoga & meditation teacher, currently studying a Nutritional Medicine degree at Endeavour College here in Melbourne. She is a traveller, writer, blogger, Yogini, food lover and Mumma to a Beagle x Staffy named Stevie.
Instagram – @rachelmarieyoga