Just show up and dance … the positive benefits of dancing

When it comes to physical and cardiovascular activities, dancing is often overlooked and underestimated. The beauty of many of the styles, types, or genres of dance is this: you don’t need a partner. You only need yourself and the right footwear.

Maria, for example, has always liked to dance. He does not remember a time when he did not want to dance. Or move to the sound of music. While she saw it as a dance, others simply saw her move and “jump” – without much rhythm or style – to the beat of the music; a heartbeat that he heard in his head, which was often not the heartbeat that others heard. In high school, his band teacher told him he “had no rhythm.” In high school and college, she giggled when she found herself on the dance floor, oblivious to the people around her, just moving to her own pace. In the past, when you attended a dance or a school party, guys would come up and ask you to dance. He was rarely approached for a dance. Although shy, her love of dancing allowed her to feel comfortable dancing alone. Her best friend, who was considered a “good” dancer (and was always invited to dance), said she looked like a chicken on the dance floor. That was long before the funky chicken dance became popular.

Fast forward, over 40 years later, Mary still sways or moves to the sound of music. Often in the privacy of your own home. It is your main form of exercise. Upon meeting her, I immediately noticed her strength, muscle tone, and agility (for a sixty-something-year-old) and concluded that she had a strict exercise regimen; maybe even a personal trainer. When I asked him, he informed me that he watches his diet and dances three or four times a week; sometimes alone, in the privacy of her own home; other times, she goes out. But she always dances alone, without a partner. He said that he has always liked to move to the rhythm of music; And from early childhood, regardless of his schedule, he found time to “swing” to music, even if he could only do it in 15 or 20 minutes. Although Mary enjoys many genres, her favorite is reggae. He claimed that reggae allows him to “influence” anytime, anywhere.

Dancing is considered a recreational activity and is too often overlooked and underestimated for the positive impact it can have on physical and mental health, especially among active older adults and people with mobility problems. Regardless of the style, type or genre of dance that interests you (and there are many ranging from ballroom and tap dancing to reggae and hip hop), there are numerous physical, mental and social benefits. No matter your age and physical limitations, there are many reasons to dance. Here are my top three:

• FUN! When you relax and let yourself go, you realize that dancing is fun. Music, rhythm, movements, even when some or many steps are lost, give you a satisfying experience. For example, some dance genres, such as Zumba® (a Latin-inspired dance and fitness program based on cardiovascular exercises), create a party atmosphere that is uplifting, easy to follow, and great for the mind, body, and body. the soul. . For me, the fun factor increases when the playlist includes some of my personal favorites.

• HEALTH & BEAUTY. Regardless of style, type or gender, dancing provides the opportunity to exercise the whole body. The number of calories burned in an hour varies, depending on body weight and the intensity of the dance routine. However, at moderate to high intensity, dancing can burn approximately 200 calories per hour. It works the main muscles and provides you with a good cardiovascular exercise. Dancing improves muscle tone, strength, endurance, flexibility, and agility. Increases range of motion and allows joints to move more freely.

• SOCIAL INTERACTION. Dance is not only a stimulating form of exercise, it also provides the opportunity to increase your social interactions with like-minded people in a fun, non-judgmental and safe environment. It gives you the opportunity to increase your social connections while learning some new and exciting skills. Many friendships and lasting relationships began on the dance floor.

It is never too late to start dancing. You do not need to have rhythm or be able to jump, crouch or kneel. You don’t have to be good (whatever your definition of good is). All you have to do is “show up and move,” whether your move is marching in place, waving your arms, or rocking from side to side. You can even sit in your chair. It doesn’t matter if you are standing or sitting, just move around. Your body, mind and soul will thank you, now and in the future.

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