Don’t hold back your dancing feet, says science

Sep 14, 2016 | Living

In an age of constantly increasing pace of life, keeping ourselves fit mentally and physically has become quite a challenge. We are constantly looking for suitable means to cope with the stresses of modern life. Some people go to the gym. But not many are enthused by the idea of running on a treadmill or lifting weights on a routine basis. Some people play sports. But again, not all of us are the “sporty” types, willing to wake up early in the morning to play. Plus, if you are in a city such as Mumbai, space can also be a huge constraint!

“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”

Satchel Paige

Dance is an activity that is more creative than exercising and requires lesser space than sports. At the same time, it also provides much of the benefits of both! It improves the functioning of the heart and lungs, increases bone & muscle strength, helps in weight management and enhances coordination, agility & flexibility to name a few.

But then, you probably knew that already. Here we give you some more excuses to put your dancing shoes on and groove to your heart’s satisfaction.

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1  Discipline

Dance is an important tool, perhaps a necessity too, to become self-disciplined. Those who learn to dance learn to follow instructions, take initiative, appreciate the importance of technique & form and work as a team while expressing their individuality. It’s no surprise therefore that young dancers are more focused and hard-working, resulting in them becoming high achievers.

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2  Wide Eyes

In dancing techniques, head angles are defined and dancers have to see sideways without moving their heads, be it in solo or group performances. This helps them develop better peripheral vision, which in turn makes them more aware & observant of their surroundings.

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3  Confidence

As dancers make progress and achieve more in dance, they also gain in confidence. This helps boost self-esteem, build better social skills and communicate more effectively in groups.

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4  Intelligence

Dancing helps improve cognitive skills by preparing the brain to learn in 2 ways: 1) it pumps more blood to the brain, thereby providing the brain the oxygen and glucose it needs to function well and 2) It integrates several brain functions at once – kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional, thereby increasing neural connectivity and making information transmission faster and better.

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5  Stress Relief

Dancing stimulates the release of endorphins, that reduce pain and enhance feelings of well-being. While endorphins are also released in other physical exercises, the impact is greater in dancing because of the additional “emotional high” created as a result of music and people bonding together.

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6  Muscle Memory

Dancing entails remembering a wide variety of steps, roles and styles. With constant practice, the movements become almost automatic as the brain creates neural pathways which become “muscle memory”.  This muscle memory is very useful in day-to-day tasks involving the muscles such as driving.

So whether you are a toddler or in your sixties, thin or obese, man or woman, start dancing immediately! It is probably the best conversation between mind, body and soul.