The TV show Dancing with the Stars has brought attention to the fun and many health benefits of ballroom dancing. Watching stars lose weight and become fit is inspiring. Seeing how they enjoy themselves and in some cases find partners is exciting. As an example Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank mogul, recently announced his engagement to Kym Johnson, his professional dance partner on the show. Is there something to all this that we regular people can take away regarding our own health?
Both the Mayo clinic and the National Institutes of Health have found that social dancing helps to reduce stress, improve energy and coordination, improve overall strength, and it specifically strengthens the bones of the hips and legs. In addition, it lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health. An added benefit is that it provides a social life for those who participate regularly.
A recent study of 75-year-olds discovered that those who did activities such as dancing, playing music, playing board games and reading at least 11 days a month reduced their risk of dementia by 63%. A major study that followed seniors for 21 years found that ballroom dancing on a regular basis reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 76%.
Recent studies of Parkinson’s disease patients who were taught tango determined that, when compared to regular exercise, tango-dancing patients improved their balance and functionality. When they were taught waltz and fox trot, locomotion and balance improved, but the tango dancers showed the most improvements.
Many of us have a hard time exercising. A big factor for this is because for many, exercising just isn’t a lot of fun. However, dancing is great fun and is a wonderful form of exercise. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t feel like exercise—it just feels great. If you are trying to figure out how to get more movement and positivity into your life, find a dance class and get started. It is good for your body, your brain and your spirit!