From ballroom to hip-hop and salsa to ballet, there are many forms of dancing. And dancing is as popular today as it’s ever been. We love to watch other people dance. Reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance and World of Dance are dominating TV.
But we also love to dance ourselves. Dance is often about creativity and self-expression, but it is also an effective and enjoyable way to get active and exercise! Studies show that dance can help with weight loss, flexibility, balance, and reduce stress. It is also a great way to socialize and make friends! Dancing is a fun way to get active and stay fit for people of all ages, sizes and fitness levels.
What are the health benefits of dancing?
Dancing can help you improve your health in many ways, including:
- Improving heart and lung condition
- Increasing strength and endurance
- Providing aerobic exercise
- Helping with maintaining a healthy weight
- Improving coordination and flexibility
- Strengthening bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis
- Increasing confidence and self-esteem
- Improving balance and spatial awareness
- Improving general and psychological wellbeing
- Increased social skills
- Boosting memory
How to get started
If you are thinking of taking up dancing, be sure to protect yourself against injury by taking the following precautions:
- Check with your doctor before beginning any new exercises
- Wear appropriate clothing for comfort and to prevent overheating
- Do warm-up stretches before you begin a dance session.
- Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after dancing
- Make sure you rest between dance sessions
- Don’t push yourself too far or too fast, especially if you are a beginner
- Wear properly fitted shoes appropriate to your style of dance
- Check with your dance instructor that you are holding the correct form
- Sit and watch new dance moves first. Learning new moves increases your risk of injury, especially if you are already tire
- Perform regular leg-strengthening exercises
- Move as fluidly and gracefully as you can
- Cool down after a dance session, including stretching
There are many different styles of dance, so be sure to choose a style that works best for you and what you would like to accomplish. Consider whether you prefer slow or fast dancing, dancing solo, with a partner or in a group. The most important part is to make sure you are having fun and get moving! There are no wrong moves, just unexpected solos!
Danielle Ball, MOTR/L, CLT, CKTP is an occupational therapist at Gateway Rehabilitation Hospital. She has been an occupational therapist for over seven years with experience in inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, long-term acute care and skilled nursing facilities. She graduated from Xavier University with her master’s in occupational therapy in 2011. Danielle is a certified lymphedema therapist and also a certified Kinesio® tape practitioner.