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Training

5 Reasons Dance Is Good For Your Body

All you need to do is look at a dancer’s physique to know that they go through some serious conditioning to be as good as they are. From strength and endurance to mental agility, dancing offers a whole host of benefits. We’ve listed 5 of our favourites for the body — read on to check them out.

 

1. Perfect Posture

You probably saw this one coming — especially if you spend hours slumped at your desk. From their very first lessons, ballet dancers will work on the perfect posture and “pull up through the spine”. We know that as we get older, our posture can suffer too. So, what are the benefits of dance for keeping your posture in tip top condition?

A study on older people found that just one month of dance three times a week improved their postural control.1 The study concluded that dance should be recommended to people of all ages and physical and cognitive abilities to slow down the effects of aging — pretty impressive right?1

 

2. First-Class Coordination

Can’t make your limbs do what you want them to do? Well, taking up dance could be the answer. According to researchers, years of ballet can alter how the nervous system coordinates your muscles for walking and balancing. In fact, the study showed that professional ballet dancers could coordinate their muscles to move far more precisely compared to non-dancers.

 

3. Cardio Boost

Running’s not for everyone, so dance can also be a great way to make your cardio exercise fun. A few studies have examined the effects of dance on cardiovascular fitness, finding that taking a class 2-3 times a week improved cardio fitness in all participants.3,4

Other research has found that it’s important to make sure you take a high-intensity class if you want to reap the cardio benefits though.5

 

4. Flexibility

Whether you’re a dancer or a weightlifter, flexibility can make a huge difference in performance and likelihood of injury.6 If you can’t reach anywhere near your toes, then taking up dance could be pretty beneficial in making you more bendy. In fact, studies of ballet students and professional dancers (both male and female) have been shown to have superior levels of flexibility compared to non-dancers.7,8,9

 

5. Mood

Setting foot on the dancefloor is a great way to boost your mood. Research has even shown that dancing can reduce feelings of anxiety.10 Dancing is also a great way to socialise and meet new people and studies have shown that dancing with a partner can help you build trust, as well as promote positive social feelings.11

 

Take home message

The studies say it all — dancing has some great health benefits. Whether it’s jumping around your bedroom, or ballroom dancing, put on some good music and get moving to reap the benefits.

Enjoy reading about the benefits of dance?

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1. Coubard, O. A., Ferrufino, L., Nonaka, T., Zelada, O., Bril, B., & Dietrich, G. (2014). One month of contemporary dance modulates fractal posture in agingFrontiers in aging neuroscience6, 17.

2. Sawers, A., Allen, J. L., & Ting, L. H. (2015). Long-term training modifies the modular structure and organization of walking balance controlJournal of neurophysiology114(6), 3359-3373.

3. Watterson, V. V. (1984). The effects of aerobic dance on cardiovascular fitnessThe Physician and Sportsmedicine12(10), 138-145.

4. Dowdy, D. B., Cureton, K. J., Duval, H. P., & Ouzts, H. G. (1985). Effects of aerobic dance on physical work capacity, cardiovascular function and body composition of middle-aged womenResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport56(3), 227-233.

5. Williford, H. N., Blessing, D. L., Olson, M. S., & Smith, F. H. (1989). Is low-impact aerobic dance an effective cardiovascular workout?The Physician and sportsmedicine17(3), 95-109.

6. Morton, S. K., Whitehead, J. R., Brinkert, R. H., & Caine, D. J. (2011). Resistance training vs. static stretching: effects on flexibility and strengthThe Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research25(12), 3391-3398.7.

7. Chatfield, S. J., Byrnes, W. C., Lally, D. A., & Rowe, S. E. (1990). Cross-sectional physiologic profiling of modern dancersDance Research Journal22(1), 13-20.

8. Klemp, P., & Learmonth, I. D. (1984). Hypermobility and injuries in a professional ballet companyBritish journal of sports medicine18(3), 143-148.

9. Alter, M. J. (2004). Science of flexibility. Human Kinetics.

10. Lesté, A., & Rust, J. (1990). Effects of dance on anxietyAmerican Journal of Dance Therapy12(1), 19-25

11. Tarr, B., Launay, J., Cohen, E., & Dunbar, R. (2015). Synchrony and exertion during dance independently raise pain threshold and encourage social bondingBiology letters11(10), 20150767.



Evangeline Howarth

Evangeline Howarth

Writer and expert

Evangeline has taken part in competitive sports since a young age. As a qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor, she understands the importance of proper nutrition for fuelling extreme and endurance sports, especially due to her experience in Team GBR Squads and captaining and coaching her University first team.

In her spare time, Evangeline loves running – especially marathons. On the weekends, you’ll find her taking on water sports or hiking up a hill. Her favourite evenings are spent taking on a HIIT session or squats in the gym before digging into some spicy food and a ton of vegetables – yum!

Find out more about Evie's experience here.