Dance is an age-old and popular form of performing art. In a bid to celebrate the universality of this art form that cuts across language, cultural and ethnic barriers, International Dance Day is celebrated all over the world on the 29th of April every year. The International Dance Day marks the birth anniversary of Jean-Georges Noverre, the father of modern ballet. This day was instituted in 1982 by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), the main partner for the performing arts of UNESCO. Every year, the committee, along with the ITI selects a renowned artist from the field of dancing to send out a message for International Dance Day. The message is translated into multiple languages and spread throughout the globe. This year’s message author is Karima MANSOUR, a dancer, choreographer and educator from Egypt. As we celebrate International Dance today, here is a list of health benefits of dancing:
Helps you shed those extra kilos
If you are on a weight-loss mission and are bored with your regular gym routine, try dancing. The Journal of Physiological Anthropology has featured a study which reveals that aerobic dancing is as effective for weight loss as jogging or cycling. Those dance moves increase your metabolism allowing your body to burn more calories. Also, if you dance regularly, you will be able to burn calories even during your resting period. Choose a dance form that moves your entire body equally. Also, a particular form in which you have to your feet lifting your arms up will be especially effective for weight loss.
Alleviates your stress levels
Yes, dancing is a fabulous way to get rid of your day-to-day stress. So, if you find yourself unable to handle the predicaments of your life, just call your best friend, turn up your favorite tunes and tango! Research featured in the Journal of Applied Gerontology reveals that partner dance accompanied by music brings down your stress levels. While you groove to your favorite music, you are distracted from your reality temporarily. This works wonders.
Gives you strong bones
Our bones become brittle with time, making us vulnerable to damages and fractures. As you dance, the bones of your entire body, especially those of your hands and legs are strengthened. Their density goes up. Moreover, damaged bones are replaced with stronger ones. All these reduce your risk of fracture, even if you fall. Also, your chance of falling also diminishes if you dance because it improves your gait and posture.
Enhances muscle flexibility
Lack of flexibility in your muscles restricts your range of movement and leads to joint pain. The wide variety of dance moves lend this quality to all your muscle groups. The more the variety, the better it is for you. The stretches and bends that you perform while dancing gives elasticity to your muscles, making it easier for you to move around in your daily life. It also improves your functional life. Dancing can also reverse the damage that your muscles have undergone owing to a sedentary lifestyle.
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Your heart functions better
Waltz your way to a healthier heart. Yes, you heard us right. You can actually do it, says an Italian study. According to the finding of this research, study volunteers who took to waltzing witnessed enhanced heart health and breathing capacity compared to those who were into treadmill workouts, walking or biking. Another UK-based study which spanned through 10 years found that dancing can lower your risk of cardiovascular ailments. Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, this research tracked 48,000 people over 40 years of age for 10 years. They had no history of heart ailments. It was found that the risk of death due to cardiac issues was slightly lower in moderate-intensity dancers than walkers.
Boosts your cognitive capacity
As you age, your memory depletes. Volume loss in your hippocampus, the brain part responsible for this cognitive capacity, is responsible for this, which sometimes leads to dementia as well. However, science says that this aging process can be stemmed with dancing. Researchers of a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reveal that dancing has the capacity to improve your memory and scale down your risk of dementia by 76 percent because it can put a brake on the volume loss of your hippocampus. According to them, free-style dancing makes the thinking process of your brain and enhances your cognitive skills. Another study featured in PLOS ONE says that hip-hop dance is a good way of boosting cognitive abilities.
Brings down your acid reflux episodes
Yes, this is another health benefit of dancing that few of us know about. Acid reflux is closely associated with your body weight. Overweight people are more likely to experience this gastrointestinal trouble more frequently and dancing, as already mentioned, helps you lose those extra kilos. This performing art is a low-impact, fun way of losing weight.
Improves your breathing capacity
Dancing requires you to breathe in large quantities of fresh air as your heart rate goes up. This lends strength to your diaphragm muscle located between the abdomen and the chest. This thin muscle is primarily used for respiration. Moreover, the air that you breathe in during a dancing session is rich in oxygen. When this oxygen gets into your bloodstream and is supplied to various organs of your body, their performance also improves.
Drives away depression
There are reams of research that have associated dancing with diminished depression levels. This art form improves your mood by releasing endorphins, popularly known as happy hormones. It has been found that the mood-boosting effect is heightened if you are dancing with a partner or in a well-peopled scenario.