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The Health Benefits of Dancing

Dancing is a great way for people of all ages to get and stay in shape. Besides being fun, dancing has many positive health benefits. Certain styles of dance can have a tremendous impact on your overall flexibility, strength, endurance level, and emotional well-being. Many people have turned to dancing as a way to exercise. Depending on your goals, a dance class could be a fun way to improve your health.

Dancing delivers a total body workout. Dancing provides a great, overall low-impact aerobic workout. Like other forms of aerobic exercise, dance strengthens the heart, lungs and circulatory system. But the varied movements also improve core strength, coordination, balance, flexibility, muscle tone and spatial awareness. Unlike some other aerobic exercises, like running, most types of dance can be easily modified to meet different physical limitations.

Flexibility is an important part of being healthy. Dance requires a great amount of flexibility. Most dance classes begin with a warm-up including several stretching exercises. Dancers must strive to achieve full range of motion for all the major muscle groups. The greater the range of motion, the more muscles can flex and extend. Most forms of dance require dancers to perform moves that require bending and stretching, so dancers naturally become more flexible by simply dancing.

Strength is defined as the ability of a muscle to exert a force against resistance. Dancing builds strength by forcing the muscles to resist against a dancer’s own body weight. Many styles of dance, including jazz and ballet, require jumping and leaping high into the air. Jumping and leaping require tremendous strength of the major leg muscles.

Endurance .Dance is physical exercise. Exercise increases endurance. Endurance is the ability of muscles to work hard for increasingly longer periods of time without fatigue. Regular dancing is great for improving endurance, especially vigorous dancing such as line and ballroom dancing. Elevating the heart rate can increase stamina. Just as in any form of exercise, regular dancing will build endurance.

Dancing helps with weight loss. Dance styles that require fast movement and leave you breathless, such as salsa or swing dancing, can help with weight loss. If you are trying to shed some pounds through dance, be sure to  select a style that requires intense movement—put your all into it, and do it often. Dancing can also help you reach the recommended goal of at least 10,000 steps a day, which can help keep weight in check. One study found that those participating in a square dance traveled the equivalent of five miles in one night.

Dancing boosts your mood. If you feel your spirits lifting as you dance, you’re not imagining things: Socializing with friends and connecting with your partner can promote the release of the feel-good hormones oxytocin and serotonin. Plus, touching a loved one, which you’ll do while you cha cha around a dance hall or wedding reception, lowers your blood pressure and pulse—two things that can reduce help your risk of heart disease.

Dancing improves your overall health and well-being. In addition to the above health benefits, dancing has been shown to help improve other markers not just of improved health, but quality of life.Many patients who suffered heart failure, and who subsequently enrolled in a waltz class, had improved oxygen levels, artery elasticity and other cardiac indicators compared to people who did other forms of exercise. What’s more, the dancing group experienced better sleep, increased sexual activity and reduced anxiety levels.

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