Heath Benefits of Dance: 10 Reasons to Take up Dancing in 2017

We all know we’re supposed to be physically active–reminders are everywhere, from gym advertisements on billboards to friends posting about their workout routines on social media.

The struggle many people have is that going to the gym can be boring and repetitive. Even if you belong to a fancy gym with TVs on every machine, the tendency is to stare at the clock and plot through a relatively static routine. Or, perhaps you’ve recently suffered an injury and are hesitant to “get back in the game.” Recovery is equal parts physical and mental.  

Students at Dancessense know that dancing is one of the most enjoyable and sustainable ways to create a healthy lifestyle? Here at Dancessense, we can tailor our dance lessons to your personal level of fitness and comfort. Our instructors are here to encourage you to be your best–nobody’s yelling at you to do more reps or keep going past your breaking point. Our students experience first-hand that dancing is a great way to stay healthy and feel good, and they are able to unlock the health benefits of dance, which include:

1. Weight Management

One of the main reasons people work out is to lose or maintain their weight, and ballroom dance is a great way to burn those calories. Naturally, faster dances like the jive or salsa make for excellent cardio, but slower ballroom dances are notable calorie burners, too. Even if you’re moving slowly, dancing is a sustained movement that requires you to stay focused, maintain good posture, and engage your core muscles.

We’ve seen plenty of weight loss success stories here at Dancessence. Combined with a healthy diet, some of our students have lost 30-40 pounds through regular classes! A two-hour dance class requires constant changes in speed and tempo, and many different kinds of movement. Safe to say, the difference between two hours on a treadmill and two hours of the dance floor is huge.

2. Muscle Tone

Dancing requires the use of every muscle group, which means it builds more muscle tone, more efficiently than most other types of exercise. Plus, you’re utilizing all of your muscle groups at the same time, making it much more productive than dedicating a day to each muscle group. 

A dance class at our studio will take you through many kinds of dance as you carry your body weight through a wide variety of different movements and tempos. There’s a reason why professional dancers have such toned muscles, but don’t worry, you don’t have to be a pro! Our instructors change it up all the time and adapt each class to your specific level of ability. Plus, we are truly a social dance studio. All kinds of people come to Dancessense to learn and have a good time. 

3. Improved Breathing

A lot of beginner dance students don’t breathe properly when learning new steps. Some even hold their breath. Our instructors will teach you how to breathe through your movements, just like a yoga teacher tells you how to breathe through different stretches. Proper breathing techniques increase oxygen flow to your muscles, helping you burn more calories, faster. 

4. Recovery

Are you scared to work out because of a recent injury? Our instructors are knowledgeable about sports injuries and can help you establish a safe routine. We pride ourselves on being flexible and responsive to each individual student’s needs. 

For example, if a student is recovering from a knee injury, it doesn’t mean they can’t dance until their knee is 100% better. It just means that the type of dances they do will be carefully chosen by the instructor, with a focus on gradual improvements in agility and ability.  

We welcome dancers of all–and we do mean all–fitness levels to come into our studios and dance. We recently saw on the news a story of a student who was initially told that he would be bound to a wheelchair. After a few months of dance lessons, he was competitively ballroom dancing! One of our own students came in after having a stroke–the left side of her body was partially paralyzed. Our instructors worked alongside her physical trainers for months to get her active again through dance therapy, and she made amazing strides, much faster than any of her doctors had anticipated. 

If you’re recovering from an injury and are accustomed to athletic competition, we can train you to dance competitively, or you can focus on setting your own goals and achieving them. Dance is also great for people with osteoporosis, and those who want to prevent its onset. Michael Pfeifer and Helmut W. Minne of the International Osteoporosis Foundation suggest that engaging in physical activity can help increase bone mineral, which means an increase in bone strength and reduced risk of fracture. 

5. Improved Balance

Dancing strengthens your stabilizer muscles and improves reflexes, translating to vast improvements in balance. Strong muscles and steady balance are essential for people of all ages.

6. Reduced Stress

We all have to deal with stress, whether at work, at home, or both. Stress is more than just a mind game, though; it also affects the body physically. Tense neck and shoulder muscles, sleep problems, and lack of energy are just a few physical symptoms of stress. 

Dance is a particularly effective way of eliminating stress, because it requires you to be completely present in the moment. Through the entire session, your brain must be fully aware of and engaged with your body’s movements. Our instructors will help you to discover which dances you connect with, because we all know that pure fun is the ultimate stress relief. They will also encourage you to try new dances, so you are focused more on challenging yourself and less on whatever might be going on at work.

7. Brain Benefits

For kids, learning to dance helps both sides of the brain develop. Meanwhile, tracking with the eyes (an important part of dancing that prevents dancers from getting dizzy) helps to improve reading ability.

For adults, the brain benefits of dance extend to the memory. As people age, the hippocampus–the part of the brain that controls memory–naturally loses volume. Dancing helps prevent and even reverse volume loss in the hippocampus, which keeps your mind sharp, and helps prevent or treat dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological disorders.

8. Joint Benefits

Dancing increases joint mobility and stability, helping to prevents arthritis and bringing additional benefits to those with osteoporosis. Frequent physical activity, especially a varied form of cardio like dance, keeps joints lubricated to reduce the pain and stiffness that often accompany arthritis. 

9. Blood Sugar Stabilization

Physical activity increases insulin sensitivity, meaning your body can use its available insulin more efficiently to take up blood glucose and stabilize blood sugar during and after exertion. When muscles contract during physical activity, it also enables your cells to take up glucose, which is totally separate from insulin. With enough physical activity, it’s even possible to permanently improve your average blood glucose.

10. Mental Health

More than 15 million Americans suffer from depression or anxiety. Ballroom dance is a proven way to produce endorphins, which reduce anxiety and improve mood. Endorphins aside, learning something new, completing tasks, and seeing gradual improvements in skill are among the many mental health benefits of dance. You can walk into our studio with zero dance experience and leave with brand-new knowledge of how to dance, not to mention something to look forward to at your next session.

Even if you don’t suffer from depression, dance is still a great way to improve your mood–especially if you have recently moved here, or suffered a family loss. The friendly and inclusive atmosphere at Dancessense is a big part of why people love coming to our studio.

Feel the need to see the California sunshine? We’ve got you covered. Our 3,000-square-foot main ballroom has giant garage doors that we keep open, weather permitting (which is most of the time). This allows for an open-air environment. Some classes even go outside to dance under the stars!

Enjoying the fresh air while improving your mental and physical health, and having fun in the process–that’s what makes Dancessense not only the best dance studio in San Diego, but one of the best activities in San Diego, period. We’d love to learn your goals and get you dancing. Contact us today for more information about our classes!