Dance, Dance, Dance

Want to lose some weight? Reduce some stress? Have some fun?

Then dance, dance, dance!

Seriously.

Dancing is one of those activities that is so enjoyable it might never even occur to you it could also be good for your health.

WEIGHT LOSS
Dancing burns calories. I figured out approximately how many for someone who weighs 130 pounds and dances for a straight 30 minutes.

  • Aerobic, ballet, or modern     175 calories burned
  • Slow ballroom                            89 calories burned
  • Fast ballroom                            163 calories burned

INCREASED FLEXIBILITY
Some of those dance moves may force you to bend and stretch more than usual.

REDUCED STRESS
All I can say is do your own experiment. When you’re feeling stressed, put on some music and dance. 

IMPROVED BALANCE
When you dance you need good balance because, whether you’re dancing slow or fast, your body is constantly shifting positions.

MORE ENDURANCE AND STAMINA
Your muscles are working hard when you’re dancing, especially vigorous dancing for an extended period of time. The more you dance, the more you improve endurance and stamina.

STRONGER BONES
Dancing is a weight bearing exercise, which helps strengthen bones and may decrease your risk of osteoporosis.

IMPROVED MEMORY
According to a study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, dancing may boost your memory and help prevent you from developing dementia as you get older.

ANYONE CAN DANCE!
This weekend I ran into two people who teach dancing for a living. Truthfully, I danced into them! I was at the Health and Wellness Expo in Portland, deeply engrossed in a conversation, when I heard music. First my toe started tapping, then my fingers. I followed the music and found Patty Medina on stage leading a group of people in a lively dance demonstration.

Patty runs a senior fitness program called Fit to Live and also teaches ballroom dancing.
The great thing about dancing is you can do it all by yourself, with a partner, or in a group. Dance in the privacy of your living room or in front of an audience. You don’t even need to stand to dance. Some of Patty’s students are in wheelchairs. Age makes no difference either.

She loves to tell the story of a man and woman in their 90s who were in one of her classes. Their caregivers warned her not to let the woman stand up because she would fall. “But she got up, and she and her husband did two rounds of Foxtrot like it was yesterday. They used to win trophies when they were younger. Music is something your body remembers and your brain remembers. That’s why it’s so good for your mind and your overall health.”

The other dance teacher I met was Deb Roy, who runs Maine Ballroom in Portland. Deb first danced her way into the studio as a student, when she “wanted to learn how to dance the swing like my parents and ballroom dance like Fred and Ginger.” She went on to become a teacher and ended up owning the business, where she says they welcome people of all ages and all walks of life. “Six-year-olds, teenagers, right up to pépère and mémère in the same class at the same time. That’s the beauty of dancing. Everyone is equal on the dance floor.”

Two, three, cha-cha-cha! What do you think? Care to dance?

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post, but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn.