Humans of all cultures have used dance as a form of expression, relaxation, and exercise for thousands of years. Cave paintings in India, which archaeologists estimate to be over 9,000 years old, depict people dancing. In Ancient Egypt, people danced to entertain each other as well as praise their gods. The tradition of dance still thrives today. In the U.S. there are over 8,000 dance studios. With the rise of popular shows like Dancing With the Stars, the dancing bug has been vigorously spreading across the U.S. Studies show the amount of Americans taking ballroom dancing classes increased 35% between 2001 and 2011, and that the dance studio industry saw a steady growth of 2.3% each year from 2009 to 2014.
With this resurgence of dance in the U.S., it’s worth considering the benefits of hopping on this trend! Dancing regularly has several benefits to both your mental and physical health. Here are some specific reasons to get down to your local dance studio and start taking classes!
1. Stress Reduction.
It has been shown that regular cardiovascular activity like dancing reduces stress in individuals. Exercise in general helps release endorphins in the brain, which result in feelings of happiness and pleasure, and inhibit feelings of stress. Dancing specifically, since it us both an exercise and an art, can provide even more satisfaction than other forms of exercise because it involves creativity and results in something artistic. The same way the musician reduces stress by singing or playing an instrument, the dancer, no matter the level, reduces stress through physical expression. The social aspect of taking dance lessons can also reduce stress.
2. Social Opportunities.
A major benefit of dancing in a group is being a part of a specific social environment. People tend to feel comfortable and empowered in places where people are working toward the same goals as them. For shy individuals, taking lessons at a dance studio can provide a safe and fun place to unwind and express themselves with like-minded people, allowing them to overcome their social anxieties. If you’re a parent, you might consider dance classes for kids to help your children foster positive social relationships as well as a love for exercise. This social opportunity, combined with the physical and artistic aspects of dance, provides a way for people to simultaneously be healthy, creative, and, most importantly have fun with others.
3. Physical and Mental Health Benefits.
Dancing offers a variety of important health benefits, both physically and mentally. By dancing regularly, you can strengthen your muscles and bones throughout your entire body. You will also increase your balance and flexibility, since so much of dance requires stretching and nimble movement. If you’re concerned with losing weight, dancing is an effective exercise, as it works all parts of the body. By participating in dance lessons, you also improve your memory, reducing the risk of dementia and other mental illnesses, even depression.
There is a reason the dance studio industry is set to grow another 13% between 2012 and 2022. The benefits are varied and substantial, and word is getting out. It’s easy to get involved with this ongoing trend! Find a nearby dance studio or public space that offers classes, and get dancing! There are so many options: ballroom dancing lessons, Zumba, swing dance, and many more. And hey, it can’t hurt to show off and nail that wedding dance on your big day!