Dance Supports Physical, Mental, Emotional and Social Wellness and Development for Every Age!
If you are a dancer, you probably already know how great it makes you feel. But did you know that dance education can be a crucial tool for developing wellness in many areas of your overall health? Health is not defined merely as the absence of disease, but as a delicate balance of many facets of a person’s development. Here are some key ways in which dance helps those who partake to grow and stay well.
· Any genre of dance will get you moving and increase your cardiovascular health. The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week or shorter bursts of high intensity aerobic activity. This movement should be spread throughout the week for the most benefit. Clearly, taking dance class a few nights per week is great for your heart health! You can read more about the AHA’s recommendations here.
· Dance is also great balance therapy. Balance is crucial for good health, especially as we age. Research has shown that mind-motor activity is beneficial for maintaining good balance. Additionally, dancing requires movement in a standing position which will strengthen the core and increase muscle control.
· Another great benefit of dance is general strength training. Because dance requires the involvement of the whole body, there are few better activities for a full-body workout. A ballet barre will work the arms, legs, feet, neck, core, shoulders and more, giving the dancer a chance to put all the body parts through their range-of-motion.
· And speaking of range-of-motion, dance is one of the best ways to increase flexibility. A typical dance class, no matter the genre, will likely have a stretching component. Dancers love to work on their flexibility so that they can perform skills such as leaps and battements (high kicks) with a greater range-of-motion.
· Motor skill development can be extremely beneficial in any stage of life. For preschoolers, learning to balance and hop on one foot is an exciting and important skill. For more mature dancers, practice in shifting weight from one foot to the other fluidly and rapidly can prevent injuries and increase quality of life. For every age in between, increased dexterity can be a great benefit of a dance education.
· Improved posture is another great advantage of a dance education. As dancers work on their technique, they are constantly assessing the position of the shoulders, neck and head. These movements become habits and muscle memory that translate into looking confident and poised in every day life.
· Learning and memorizing choreography is great for your brain! The patterns that are repeated during a ballet barre, tap warm-up, or any other movement class are proven to help with memory skills and can even help prevent dementia.
· Dance helps with neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to develop new connections. The combination of movement and the additional sensory input of music, instruction, the mirrors and the other dancers can do wonders for a developing brain. These benefits can even help a dancer who is recovering from a stroke or suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.
· Memorizing long sequences of choreography is wonderful for a developing brain. This important mental skill will help dancers with their organizational and planning activities outside of the dance room.
· Dance styles that involve improvisation are great for exercising a dancer’s decision-making skills. When a dancer has to make a split-second choice about which step to use or what direction to turn, the brain is practicing these crucial life skills in a comfortable and low-consequence environment.
· Creativity blossoms in the dance studio. Younger dancers can pretend to move like different animals, imagine what color beautiful butterfly they have become, or dream of a far away fantasy place to travel in their magic boat. As dancers progress, dance class often includes choreography exercises and opportunities to participate in the choreographic process. Each dancer can express their individual creativity while crafting an ending pose, deciding how they will travel across the floor, or pairing steps to compose their own phrase in a group piece.
· Dancing is a proven mood booster. Research shows that dancing releases oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine and endorphins into our systems. By changing the chemical balance in our bodies, dance really does help us to feel good!
· By the same token, dance can help relieve depression. While it may seem like the last thing you’d want to try when you are depressed, getting up and turning on some music or getting to a dance class can have a positive impact and relieve depressive symptoms.
· Dance has been proven to lower anxiety in those who suffer. Sometimes described as “moving meditation” dance training can require so much mental capacity that there is little room left to think about the overwhelming parts of life. A dancer who is submerged in this focused state for an hour or more emerges refreshed and with an altered perspective. This can be one of the greatest benefits of adding a dance class to your schedule.
· For preschool and elementary aged students, dance class can be a place to make friends and have fun. For older dancers, meeting like-minded individuals often happens while exploring a shared passion. Friends are vitally important for health at any age. And dance class is a great place to find them.
· For the younger set, social skills such as waiting in line, taking turns and respecting personal space are explored for the first time in dance class. These are critical skills for children and adults alike. Dance class is a great place to learn about these concepts in a safe, structured environment.
· Working in cooperative groups is another benefit of participating in dance class. As dancers work with each other to create a shared product, skills like negotiating, mediating and compromising are employed. These are some of the most important skills that can be transferred to every day life.
Dance Classes has so many benefits for students of any age. It can truly be a life-long activity. Whether you are a new-to-dance beginner or you are looking to rekindle an old passion, dance class can enrich and balance your life in ways that extend far beyond the walls of the studio. Join our Danceworks Family today!