The Benefits of Dancing

Build Stronger BOnesDid you know that dancers tend to live happier, healthier, and longer lives? A variety of studies have shown that dancing can increase your strength, flexibility, balance, and stamina, while reducing the risk of medical conditions, such as dementia and emotional problems. Other benefits of dancing are the socialization aspect and training the nervous system to perform new motor skills.

Dancing can combat loneliness, stress, and depression. There are a variety of dances out there to choose from to fit everyone’s individual situation, personality, and inherent preferences and tastes. For the young or old, dancing – like any other activity – can be addictive, but the benefits outweigh the risks for most people. It contributes to the dancer’s length of life and quality of life – providing her something to live for, giving her something to focus on that she enjoys.
In addition, dancing diminishes social isolation and can help reduce the pain and aches associated with a longer life. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported dancing 11 days per month could reduce the chance of developing dementia by over 60%. Perhaps dancing engages the dancer’s mind and thus protects the dancer’s “brain power”.
Carrying your body weight across the dance floor, like any weight-bearing exercise, can build stronger bonesand reduce the occurrence of osteoporosis, while toning muscles, including the essential “core muscles” that are required for good posture, vital to being a good dancer and to prevent injury while performing the various common activities of daily living.
The dancing footwork improves cardiovascular and muscle endurance, and dancing can be a fun way to lose weight. For example, a 150-pound person can burn substantial amount of calories while dancing: less with lower tempo dancing styles and more with higher tempo dancing. Swing dancing: 235 calories/hour, ballroom: 265 cal/hr, square dancing: 280 cal/hr, and salsa dancing: 420 cal/hr!!! Some avid dancers have claimed that dancers are better lovers and have better sex lives, but that claim has not been confirmed scientifically.
See ya out on the dance floor!!!
Tobey Leung, MD 

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