Whether it’s a few steps around your living room or a line dance with friends, dancing can have immediate health benefits as well as long-term effects for life. Dancing is a popular, doctor-recommended activity that offers cardiovascular exercise, social interaction and other health benefits to keep you moving! Although the benefits vary based on the type of dance routine you choose, dancing is still a great way to keep your body healthy.

Immediate Benefits

  • Mood-Lifter – The Mayo Clinic has cited dance-based exercises, such as Zumba, as great ways to boost your mood.
  • Stress-Reliever – Dancing gives your mind something else to focus on, allowing you to slowly de-stress and concentrate on feeling better.
  • Self-Monitor – When you dance, you can feel what parts of your body need more activity and what parts need to be strengthened. By learning your body’s limits, you learn how to prevent injury and will know if something doesn’t feel right later on.

Short-Term Benefits

  • Improved Muscle Tone and Weight Management – Depending on the routine, dancing can provide concentrated exercise to specific areas on your body as well as full-body exercises.
  • Improved Flexibility and Balance – Daily and even weekly dancing can help you find your center of gravity and make balancing easier. Healthguidance.org says that certain dance activities can work to strengthen the smaller muscles that play a big role in your ability to balance.
  • Improved Self-Confidence – Dancing can be both a social and private event, allowing you to grow comfortable in your own skin and comfortable around others.

Long-Term Benefits

  • Stronger Heart –  AARP found that dancing not only strengthens your heart and lowers your risk of high blood pressure, but it also decreases your risk of a stroke.
  • Stronger MindThe New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study in 2003 to see if regular physical activity could reduce the risk of dementia and memory loss. Dancing provided the biggest reduction in risk even when compared to bicycling, doing crossword puzzles and playing a sport.
  • Stronger Bones – The International Osteoporosis Foundation recommends dancing for both children with developing bones, young adults and women. Dancing increases bone density for children and maintains it in adults, allowing for bones that are less likely to fracture.

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As with all forms of exercise, it is important to start slow and gradually work up to more complicated routines. Be sure to research different styles of dance to see which one might work for you, whether it be slow with low-impact, or fast-paced and intense. Finally, always make sure to monitor how you feel and be sure to contact a medical professional at AFC/Doctors Express Urgent Care Indianapolis if you notice anything irregular.