Deeper Look: Why is Dancing Good For You?
July 27, 2018
July 27, 2018
If you enjoy music and need a little exercise, you might want to consider taking up dance. Not only is dancing good for you, it’s actually one of the best workouts you can partake in. Lauded by TIME Magazine as the best thing you can do for your body, this is why dancing is good for you.
Deeper Look: Why is Dancing Good For You?
If you want to stay out of urgent care, exercise is the best way to do it. Keeping fit will not only stave off any potential problems that obesity can cause, but it also prepares your body to fight off anything that comes its way. That’s why you feel good when you look good. Sure, the confidence boost after a workout is nice, but it’s the hormone boost that really helps. Exercise doesn’t just build muscle, it builds a healthy body. However, many people feel that exercise must be an obligation. Exercise surely can’t be fun, right?
You need to have a plan when you exercise, sure. And you do need to work to stick to that plan. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mix exercise with something fun. Let’s take music as an example. Everyone enjoys some sort of music, and most people nowadays jam out when they exercise. Whether it’s heavy metal while lifting or some big room jazz during a nice stroll, music can make exercising feel just a little less like work. One of the best ways to work out, though, leans all the way into this. One of the most fun things that you can do when music is on is dance, which is (coincidentally) one of the best ways to get in shape. Here are the reasons why dancing is great for your body, your mind, and your general health.
Nothing is Needed
Let’s get one of the best perks out of the way, first: you don’t need anything you don’t already have to take up dance.
You don’t need a gym or a dance studio. You don’t need heavy weights or complex machines. Spotting partners need not apply. Memberships are free. All you need to dance is music, headphones, and some floor space. You can dance alone, or dance with friends, or dance with your partner. You can dance until the early morning, or dance your way out of the door in the morning. Dancing works for you, so you don’t have to work for it.
You know what else you don’t need to dance? Skill. Yes, it would be nice if you were a great dancer. Luckily, dancing as an exercise can help you get there. In the meantime, though, you don’t have to be good at dancing at all. You don’t need to know any moves, you just need to get up and dance. If you can move your body around while music is playing, you can dance enough to get a good work out out of it.
If you want to have something, you can buy programs like those that are shown in infomercials. Even this isn’t necessary, though. You can find plenty of great dance channels on YouTube, with more than enough free material to keep you dancing for the rest of your life. If you want to be a professional dancer you would likely be better suited with an instructor, but you don’t need a teacher to show you how to get your heart rate going. A guide will never hurt, though.
Dancing is Great Cardio
Asking, “why is dancing good for you?” is like asking. “why is anything good for you?” The answer is simple: when your body is in motion, your heart rate is increasing. And when your heart rate is high, your body is doing a huge variety of things.
Dancing is a cardiovascular exercise, much like walking. This means that, while you’re dancing, your body is burning a lot of calories. An 155 pound person will burn an average of 450 calories an hour while dancing. After ten hours of dancing, they will have burned a little more than 1.3 pounds. Of course, a raised heart rate will keep the calories burning much longer than that, though. Cardio exercises can help stimulate and increase your metabolism, which helps your body burn calories even when it isn’t exercising. Dancing for an hour everyday would put you on track to lose about 1 pound each week, which is a healthy amount of weight loss. If you began in August, you would lose 22 pounds before the end of the year.
Cardio also helps to regulate your hormones, which is a hard benefit to quantify. What this means, essentially, is that cardio will make your body work the way it should be working. It’s like changing the oil on your car. If there are issues with your oil, your whole engine will start to malfunction. Keep things running, though, and it will be just fine. Cardio also helps to fight back any potential diabetes risk.
The list goes on and on. Cardio can also help keeps your lungs and healthy, and make your sleep more restful. It will also lower your risk for heart disease, and several types of cancer. And as a result of hormone regulation, cardio can also make you happier, and less stressed. And like milk, cardio makes your bones denser, fighting off osteoporosis and other potential age-related bone diseases. Cardio is great.
Actually, Dancing (Done Right) is One of the Best Kinds of Cardio
We can classify the benefits of cardio in five major categories: cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, flexibility, body composition, and muscular strength.
Most cardio exercises, like walking on a treadmill, will function in two of these five categories. Walking on a treadmill helps with body composition and cardiovascular endurance, but it does very little for any other area. The best you can really hope for is something like swimming, which helps in three: cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, and body composition. Dancing, however, can hit all five of the categories. The only one it misses out on is muscular strength.
However, a slow dance around a ball room won’t really help in any. If you want to achieve the most with your dancing, you should be exerting yourself at about a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5. To test this, try talking while working out. You should be able to speak, but your words should come out choppy. When you’ve hit that point, your dancing is firing on all cylinders.
Dancing is Low Impact
Another aspect to consider when discussing cardio workouts is impact. To hyperbolize the concept, consider a workout where you jumped and stomped as hard as you could on cinder blocks in an attempt to break them. It would probably be a good cardio workout, but it wouldn’t really be “good for you.” It would destroy your knees and the soles of your feet, likely leaving you with lasting pain in the process. Breaking cinder blocks is high impact. Impact isn’t always bad, but you should try to avoid it where possible.
This is why many gyms are switching their treadmills out for ellipticals. Because your foot isn’t being raised, there’s a lesser impact on the knee and hip on an elliptical. People who run for an hour every day know just how quickly this little change can add up. Similarly, this is why it’s recommended that many older people exercise in the pool. Water can take some of the stress off of our bones, making it easier to exercise for a long period of time.
Repetitive motion is the real killer when it comes to impact, though. Stomping a cinder block once would hurt, but not as much as doing it one thousand times. Dancing already leads to little recoil, but this is made even better as dancing keeps you from stepping in the same spot over and over.
Dancing is Good For Your Brain
What’s more, dancing has been linked to a 76% decrease in the risk of dementia. This is roughly equivalent to the decrease caused by mental exercise. Other physical exercises, like biking and walking, have shown no decrease whatsoever. Imagine that — dancing can keep your brain sharp. Why this happens we aren’t sure, but the fact can’t be denied.
Finally, dancing is fun. That’s the real answer to “is dancing good for you?” Yes, it is. Fun is always good for you. Not only does it help you get out and go exercise, but it also lowers your stress levels. High stress can lead to an insane number of injuries and illnesses. From strokes to cancer, having too many stressors have put more than enough people in the hospital. Make sure that you’re having a little fun with your day, and maybe you’ll get some good exercise a long with it.