Someone very rightly once said “Dancing is like dreaming with your feet.” How true! Only a dancer can relate to the above quote.
Dance is not merely a bunch of coordinated moves clumped together to create a visually satisfying performance. There is a lot more to it than that. Dancing is perhaps the best and most fulfilling way to express a wide range of emotions. Strong opinions and unfeigned feelings can be heard loud and clear through powerful moves. You can even write a story through dance. You can sing a song through dance. You can laugh through dance; you can cry through dance.
With dance by your side, you would never need a weapon to win any war for you have already won. Dancing can move mountains. You must now be pretty curious as to what it is exactly that dancing helps you with, right? Read ahead and your questions will be answered.
10. Effect on self-esteem
Dancers are always generalised as people who have a lot of dignity combined with self-esteem. Dancing increases your feeling of self-worth and makes you feel confident about yourself. It brings in a lot of respect and also you start possessing a positive outlook towards life. You start seeing the positive aspect in situations and that helps you bring positivity into yourself. A low self-esteem has negative impacts such as low confidence, difficulty in maintaining interpersonal relationships, depression, etc. Dancing does away with all that and more. With this renewed sense of being and self-worth, of course you can move mountains. Right?
- To cope with stress
Dancing helps you to control your stress level in a fun, energising and effective way. It is a beautiful way to regenerate your heart and soul. Dancing to slow music which has a tempo that is easy to follow or dancing to a fast beat are equally wonderful ways to relieve stress, provided you enjoy yourself. Enjoy the movements as you sway your body and move your arms and enable your body to release all the tension.
- Depression buster
According to research, people who participated in an upbeat group dance showed the fewest depression symptoms and the most vitality. The scientific explanation for this is dancing releases endorphins which induce a sense of happiness, keep them active and make them feel free. Dancing is an art which leads to self-expression and helps people connect with themselves and others. Statistics have shown that more than men, women are the usual targets of depression and they indulge in dance therapy more than the opposite sex. This therapy provides an outlet through which women externalise their suppressed feelings. In dance therapies, people have to act out their hidden hurts. This provides them with an outlet for the inbuilt frustration and also allows the individual to come to terms with their emotional problems and deal with them. People can also opt for dancing alone or in a group, without a therapist.
- Boost memory
This may sound unbelievable as people have this notion that dance being an extracurricular activity, cannot help in boosting memory in any way. When people dance, they try to learn the steps given to them by the choreographer. Dancing sparks new brain cells through a process called neurogenesis and helps in acquiring knowledge and thinking. Dance instils grace but also helps you to age gracefully. Moreover, dancing prevents dementia as you get older. Dementia is a condition that causes a long term and often a gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember that can affect a person’s daily functioning. Also, Aerobics can reverse the volume loss in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory. The hippocampus naturally shrinks during late adulthood, which sometimes leads to impaired memory and even dementia, in certain cases. Study after study has shown that people who are exposed to rhythm learn better and movement also increases the capacity to learn.
- Helps your heart
Dancing is a really great activity for people who suffer from cardiovascular diseases. According to an Italian study, people who started waltzing improved their heart health, breathing and quality of life much more compared to other traditional forms of exercise. Dancing is a great cardiovascular exercise, which leads to an increase in your stamina. Your heart rate will steady longer and you will not feel out of breath as the condition of your heart and lungs improve. It helps to maintain an adequately low blood pressure.
- Increase energy
Dancing is a great way to increase your energy levels – both in the short run as well as the long run. Dancing makes you pumped up and all set for the rest of the day. The blood pumps through your entire body and you feel alive; this increases your well-being. It makes a person happy and satisfied. Long term increases in energy refers to reduction in weight when the individual’s body gets used to dancing.
- Increase your social circle
Everybody enjoys meeting and interacting with new people (well, most of us at least!) who have similar interests. Dancing provides a fun environment that enables an individual to utilise his/her social skills if he/she is outgoing, or to strengthen them if they are not. It also improves a person’s social outlook when a person is in a comfortable environment. Being a socially engaged person leads to an increase in their sense of well-being and security, cures loneliness, uplifts mood and also helps in reducing stress.
- Balance better
Dancing requires body movement and a good posture and this helps a person gain control over their body. When you dance, a lot of moves need to be executed and the sequence has to come out perfect as well as correct, so a dancer has to maintain a strong centre of gravity. As dancing increases a person’s flexibility and strength, the posture, balance and spatial awareness starts improving and this helps them complete each step easily and efficiently. All those times when a dancer has to hold a pose, practice a lot of postures and stances, he/she gradually builds up impeccable balance.
- Lose weight
Dancing is a fun way to lose weight. It can be used as an alternative for people who find traditional exercises boring, such as hitting the gym, jogging, cycling, yoga, etc. The more calories you burn, the faster you lose weight. Of course this is also determined by a person’s gender, age, body composition, etc. 500 extra calories have to be worked off each week to lose one pound per week. The 8 famous dancing styles that enable weight loss are: Jazzercise, Zumba, Hip-hop, Belly Dancing, Ballroom Dance, Ballet, Salsa and Samba. A person weighing 150 pounds would on an average, lose 233 calories per half an hour doing Hip-Hop, 154 doing Disco, 164 calories doing modern Jazz, Tap or Ballet, 221 calories for aerobic dance or a cardio class. Dancing burns around 200 to 400 calories when compared to the calories burned while swimming, cycling and walking.
- Enhance flexibility
Dancing increases your flexibility which helps you ease joint pain. However, most people do not know the importance of stretching before a dance session. It helps you get the most out of your movements as well as avoid injury. Flexibility is an important aspect of being healthy. The greater the range of motion, the more your muscles become flexible. Moreover dancing also helps increase endurance of the body. Endurance is the ability of the muscles to work hard for a longer period of time without submitting to fatigue. It increases the individual’s strength as well as stamina. Dance helps in keeping the joints, muscles and the tendons limber and loose.