There are many positive effects and benefits to dancing, not the least of which is an improved sense of balance and a heightened ability to stay on your feet, even when moving erratically. These benefits can be physical, like those previously mentioned, but they can also be emotional or psychological too. Just as physical exercise causes the brain to release endorphins, so does dancing, and even a little bit of research will tell you that endorphins are the feel good neurotransmitter in the human brain. Today, let’s take a closer look at the positive effects of dancing and why it might be good for you.
These benefits to one’s mood and sense of satisfaction are obvious, but they are also only the short-term benefits. Over the long term, dancing will improve a person’s sense of discipline, as well as their memory. Discipline because different dances have different, very specific steps to them, and memory because people can grind dance routines into their long-term memory, just like musicians can learn how to play something and then remember how to play it after playing it several times, over and over again. Repetition and discipline are very closely linked together if you care to look that up.
Even if you do not reach some new apex every time that you dance, regular dancers take pride in the gains they make every day, which leads to an overall increase in satisfaction. That’s because working up a sweat and exercising regularly makes people feel good, even if the changes they are making are coming about so slowly that they can’t see their results immediately. It might take years to become great, but each and every step from poor to mediocre to good and beyond will leave a dancer feeling good about himself or herself.
Some childcare experts will tell you kids seek structure, but that’s really more of a human thing than just a child thing. All people hunger for structure, and all people benefit from developing regular routines they follow through with on a regular basis. You might think this would make things boring, but one of the best ways to develop a sense of wonder is to do the same thing over and over, then start looking for ways you can improve on your established routine. Yes, sticking with a routine for a while is good, but t shouldn’t become a permanent routine. Structure is good, but you should be open to change too.
Unless you’re doing the kind of “dancing” that people do while sitting around in their chairs listening to music and bobbing about, then the odds are good your dancing will probably qualify as aerobic exercise. Compared to anaerobic exercise, aerobic exercise focuses more on activating more muscle groups in a given workout, rather than trying to isolate and strengthen specific muscles by using them heavily and repeatedly. Different dances will provide different benefits – more active dances, like the salsa, will lead to a higher number of calories burned over the span of an hour.
Dancing can be a social activity as well, and that’s where another level of psychological benefits comes into the equation. If you’re a homebody who rarely gets out, you stand to benefit more than most from introducing yourself to new people and enjoying a challenging physical activity with them. Just like overweight people are anxious about going to gyms, people with little dancing experience will likely also feel anxious about picking up a new hobby. However, succeeding at that new thing can open your mind and expand your point of view. In short, dancing takes you out of your comfort zone, which can be good.
Now that we’ve outlined some physical and psychological benefits to dancing regularly, we should take some time to talk about the emotional benefits. For starters, developing a skill is just a simple way to feel better about oneself. Really – knowing that they have the ability to do something, and do it well, is enough for many people to improve their outlook moving forward, as well as their personal opinions of themselves. Looking in a mirror and seeing someone standing on the other side that is confident and competent may do more good for you than all the physical health benefits combined, honestly.
Speaking of health benefits again, an increase in bone density and joint strength also tends to go hand in hand with regular dancing. This is because dancing is a weight-bearing exercise where your body must work to keep itself upright. All that turning, bending, twisting, dipping, diving and stretching will make your bones and joints stronger over time, and this can lead to a reduced risk of diseases like osteoporosis. These are all little benefits, yes, but when you stack so many little benefits together, they can make an impact on your life which is greater than just the sum of the parts that make it up.
Of all the things dancing can do for you, perhaps no single one is as important as how dancing can make you surer on your feet. We already covered this briefly above, but a better sense of balance is something that can’t be taken for granted. That will follow you outside of your dances and into every other sport you enjoy, as well as elsewhere in your life. Falling down less often is just a good thing, right? We think so. So too does everyone over the age of 65, we’d bet.
Now that we’ve shared all of these good reasons to start dancing, what about negative effects that should give people concern? Well, no sport is free of those, not even dancing. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to overexertion and strained muscles or sprained ligaments in joints which are forced to do more work than they are ready and able to do. Coming up with a solid stretching regimen is important to anyone who wants to dance, mostly because it can help reduce the risk of strains and sprains, especially in those with naturally stiff arms and legs.