Dancing can be a way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It has a wide range of physical and mental benefits including:
Dancing can be a way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It has a wide range of physical, and mental benefits including: improved condition of your heart and lungs, increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness, increased aerobic fitness, improved muscle tone and strength, weight management, stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis, better coordination, agility and flexibility, improved balance and spatial awareness, increased physical confidence, improved mental functioning, improved general and psychological well being, greater self-confidence and self-esteem, and better social skills. Most forms of dance may be considered an aerobic exercise and as such reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, help weight control, stress reduction, and bring about other benefits commonly associated with physical fitness. In addition, studies have demonstrated a considerable correlation between dancing and psychological well-being. A large amount of governmental, health, and educational information is available extolling the benefits of dance for health.
Benefits of Cultural dance Physical activity has many physical and mental health outcomes. However, physical inactivity continues to be common. Dance, specifically cultural dance, is a type of physical activity that may appeal to some who are not otherwise active and may be a form of activity that is more acceptable than others in certain cultures.
A report by Professor Tim Watson and Dr Andrew Garrett of the University of Hertfordshire compared members of the Royal Ballet with a squad of British national and international swimmers. The dancers scored higher than the swimmers in seven out of ten areas of fitness. An Italian study in 2006 has shown that dance is a very good exercise for heart patients compared to other aerobic exercises like cycling. This may be partly because the patients enjoyed it much more.
A study at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine in 2007 showed Argentine tango was better at improving the mobility of Parkinson's disease sufferers than an exercise class (a later study showed similar benefits from Tai chi). Because of the level of interest a permanent tango class was set up after the study ended. A study by Dr Paul Dougall at Strathclyde University in 2010 concentrating on older women found that Scottish country dancers were more agile, have stronger legs and can walk more briskly than people of the same age who took part in exercises such as swimming, walking, golf and keep-fit classes.
Another gain of dancing is for those who have high cholesterol, plus drugs and adequate food, dancing can draw. As an aerobic exercise abridged levels of total blood cholesterol, especially in LDL cholesterol, acknowledged as bad and helps boost levels of HDL or good cholesterol. Dancing in general increases, muscle strength and flexibility, which in turn, improves overall range of motion. Dance also increases core strength which can improve balance, coordination, and posture (which reduces back pain).
Dance has been repeatedly shown to positively impact a person's mental health. For example, lead study author Anna Duberg, of Sweden's Center for Health Care Sciences, found that, "despite problems such as stress and other potential challenges in being an adolescent girl, dance can result in high adherence and a positive experience for the participants." Dancing had the potential to contribute to new healthy habits. Swedish researchers, writing in the JAMA Pediatrics, studied 112 teenage girls who were struggling with problems including neck and back pain, stress, anxiety, and depression. Half of the girls attended weekly dance classes, while the other half didn't. The girls who took the dance classes improved their mental health and reported a boost in mood—positive effects that lasted up to eight months after the classes ended.
Additionally, a recent study done in Perth Western Australia by Debbie Duignan (WA Alzheimers Association) explored the use of Wu Tao Dance as a therapy for people with dementia. It was shown that Wu Tao dance helped to reduce symptoms of agitation in people with dementia. The complex mental coordination involved with dancing activates both sensory and motor circuits. Therefore, when one dances, one's brain is both stimulated by the sound of the music and by the dance movements themselves. PET imaging has shown brain regions that become activated during dance learning and performance, including the motor cortex, somatosensory cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. The benefits of dancing on the brain includes memory improvement and strengthened neural connections. Consequently, not only can dance help to reduce symptoms experienced by those with dementia, but it can also reduce the risk of developing dementia in the first place, as shown in a 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
In addition to improving symptoms of dementia and preventing dementia, frequent dancing can even lead to increased cognitive acuity for individuals of all ages. However, not all kinds of dancing have this power. Those dance styles that allow for the most split-second decisions are the most beneficial; those dance styles with the same, memorized patterns are the least beneficial. For the same reason, those who take the Follow role have a higher opportunity for improving their cognitive acuity since they must make constant split-second decisions as they follow their partner’s lead. The key for improving cognitive acuity is to create new neural connections to increase the complexity of our neuronal synapses. Another important consideration is that the frequency of dancing matters. The more frequent an individual dances, the greater the cognitive improvement.
Furthermore, many cultures agree that there is a mind and body connection, and many cultures use dance to heal this often damaged connection. During the African diaspora, individuals used dance therapy to treat the trauma that resided from their situations. Dance therapy is suggested for patients today as treatment for emotional and therapeutic support, as dance allows individuals to connect with their inner-self.
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