For many of us, it started off as lessons when we were kids. As we grew older, it happened only on special occasions, such as Prom, or when we heard our favorite song, or maybe just when we were really, really happy. But how often is it a part of our lives now? Dance is a physical manifestation of one’s inner world. It can tell a story, be an emotional release, or simply be a joyful experience. We can dance alone or with our friends, on a dance floor or in our kitchens, with skill or just to be silly. But no matter the situation, dance is a beautiful thing.
Aside from being a form of physical expression, many benefits occur by incorporating dance into our lives. Dance is an easy, fun and creative way to stay physically fit. According to Time, because dance involves a wide variety of movements and frequent irregularities in pace, it is hardly energy efficient. This is actually great for our bodies because we are expending more energy in a shorter amount of time than exercises with more predictable movements, such as swimming or running. Aside from burning more calories than we may realize, up to 600 per hour to be exact, dance can be seriously beneficial to our mental wellness. Many therapists actually recommend dancing to their patients who suffer from social anxiety, as it helps them learn to let loose around others and can even boost their self-confidence. A recent study in older adults showed that dancing strengthened connective tissues, or “white matter,” in the brain and, consequently, helped to prevent memory loss and improved mental processing speed. Many of us already know exercise releases endorphins that make us happy, but since dance in and of itself is a ton of fun, it is sure to induce a great mood.
As you all have guessed, this week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to dance. If you want to use this challenge as an opportunity to change up your exercise routine, you can try attending a dance class or even following one of the many dance workouts accessible on youtube. The Fitness Marshall and PopSugar Fitness, to name a couple, offer a wide variety of home dance workouts that are sure to get your heart rate going and spice up your workout regimen. If you only want to use this challenge to tap into the psychological benefits, you have a ton of freedom! Blasting your favorite music and dancing around during your commute (as much as is safe while driving, of course) is a great way to start and end your day on a happy note. If you have kids, this could be a great opportunity to bond with them over something purely fun. We invite you to take on this challenge in whatever way feels right for you and to observe how the power of dance can brighten your world this week.