black and white image of a beautiful female dancer wearing a black leotard

The Mind-Body Benefits of Dance

April 2nd, 2019 Posted by Dance Psychology, Uncategorized 0 comments on “The Mind-Body Benefits of Dance”

Whether you are a social dancer or seriously dedicated to a weekly routine of classes, the mind-body benefits of dancing are undeniable!

At its most basic, dance is great physical exercise. We have long heard about the many health benefits – cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, strength and mobility, but if you are a dancer, you have probably also noticed that in some situations, your brain may be a little ‘fitter’ than your non-dancing friends or colleagues.

The Dancer’s Brain

The exploration into the neuroscience of dance and its power to positively impact the brain is relatively new but the results are exciting, to say the least.

Recent research shows that adults who engage in 60-120 minutes of dance per week can improve global cognition (general cognitive function). Dance also appears to positively affect cognitive flexibility — the ability to adapt to new and changing situations — language fluency, learning, memory and organisation, even more than other mind-body pursuits.

As adults, we tend to prefer to stay in our comfort zone and as such we become adept at avoiding situations that challenge us. By repeatedly pushing through the discomfort of learning new skills we can gradually train our brains to become more responsive. This is exactly why it is important for all dancers to be open to trying different genres.

Physical Communication

Dancers who pursue graceful movement must practice being aware of their bodies and (being aware) of wordless communication. These skills are particularly important today as we spend increasing amounts of inactive time using technology. Our way of life has taken us further from our own physical experiences and the understanding of the wordless emotional messages of others.

Mind Benefits

In terms of all-round benefits, health, fitness and wellbeing, dancing is at the top. While the physical movement of dance helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression, dancing with others also helps us feel more connected and social. Dance classes can encourage social bonds and friendships which are key factors in improving our mood and mental health.

10 Reasons to Take Up Dancing

  1. Helps to overcome shyness
  2. Encourages social connection
  3. Builds confidence
  4. Improves cardiovascular fitness
  5. Improves coordination and balance
  6. Lengthens strengthens and tones muscles
  7. Improves posture
  8. Relieves stress and tension
  9. It’s an activity for all ages

But most of all….

10. It’s fun!

 

References:

www.psychologytoday.com

University of Helsinki – Hanna Poikonen

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