The Health Benefits of Dancing

Dancing can be magical and transforming. It can breathe new life into a tired soul; make a spirit soar; unleash locked-away creativity; unite generations and cultures; inspire new romances or rekindle old ones; trigger long-forgotten memories; and turn sadness into joy, if only during the dance.

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On a more physical level, dancing can give you a great mind-body workout. Researchers are learning that regular physical activity in general can help keep your body, including your brain, healthy as you age. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals that encourage nerve cells to grow. And dancing that requires you to remember dance steps and sequences boosts brain power by improving memory skills.

There has been some promising research in this area, according to Rita Beckford, M.D., a family doctor and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. For instance, a 2003 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that ballroom dancing at least twice a week made people less likely to develop dementia. Research also has shown that some people with Alzheimer’s disease are able to recall forgotten memories when they dance to music they used to know.

Whether it’s ballet or ballroom, clogging or jazz, dance is great for helping people of all ages and physical abilities get and stay in shape. There’s even chair dancing for people with physical limitations. A 150-pound adult can burn about 150 calories doing 30 minutes of moderate social dancing.

Benefits Abound

Like other moderate, low-impact, weight bearing activities, such as brisk walking, cycling or aerobics, dancing can help:

· strengthen bones and muscles without hurting your joints

· tone your entire body

· improve your posture and balance, which can prevent falls

· increase your stamina and flexibility

· reduce stress and tension

· build confidence

· provide opportunities to meet people, and

· ward off illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and depression

So if you’re tired of the treadmill and looking for a fun way to stay fit and healthy, it might be time to kick up your heels!

Calorie Check

How many calories will you burn? That depends on your body and how vigorously you dance. According to the USDA’s physical activity guidelines, adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day, and dancing is fortunately a moderate activity. Dancing is also more enjoyable for some, compared to the regular cardio, such as running.

Important Gear

Just like any other physical or athletic activity, appropriate and comfortable clothes and gear should be worn when dancing. The recommended attire depends on the type of dance, which could range from ballet to modern dancing. Proper dance clothes serve to enhance the dancer’s body, provide smooth movement without any limitations and improve the dancer’s abilities. The right outfit should be easy to dance in and correspond to a specific dance technique. Choosing dance clothes you should consider your body type, how the costume moves with your body, what type of music you dance to and what image you would like to create on stage.

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For ballet, comfort and simplicity is key. Ballet dance clothes should be tight but allow movement and provide comfort at the same time. Leotards, unitard, wrap-around ballet skirt, tights and ballet slippers can all be found at specific dancewear stores such as www.movedancewear.com.

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For modern dancing, a clear illustration of your movements is the main goal, so tight fitting and dark coloured legwear is recommended.

This post is written in collaboration with Move Dancewear

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