Happy International Dance Day!
That’s right – it’s a real and official occasion - the day that every UN member state, dancers, schools, theatres and communities worldwide celebrate dance!
It’s also a day that reminds me of my own love of dance, and my passion for it to be used more for fitness and health.
Here are 7 reasons why I love dance:
1. It makes me ridiculously happy!
What’s not to love about jumping around, throwing your arms up, getting energised, even being silly, with awesome music?
Dance is exercise in an enjoyable form, in fact until I became a Soft Tissue Therapist I never even realised all that dancing I was doing was exercise – I was just doing what I loved.
Doing something you enjoy means you are more likely to stick to it, and you’re happy to do it for longer each session, so feel those gains!
Dancing doesn’t just look fun; it actually releases ‘feel-good’ hormones, like Serotonin and Endorphins. So, have a go, and your smiling face can thank me later.
2. All of my bridesmaids are dancers…
I say this for two reasons: one because I am still over-the-moon to be getting married to my soul mate, but two (and more relevantly) as proof that dancing is a fantastic social activity. Trying out something new can be very scary, but it’s useful to remember that everyone else trying out that class or event will probably be nervous too. Dancing really boosts your confidence, as well as providing you with a place to speak, move and interact with interesting and like-minded people.
3. I am still clumsy, but I dread to think how bad I would be without dance.
As we get older, maintaining and improving our balance becomes more important.
Unless you are working with specific balance-orientated goals, most regular sports and exercise activities do little to improve your balance. A study led by Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld (from the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Magdeburg, Germany.) showed
“it was only dancing that led to noticeable behavioural changes in terms of improved balance.”
If you, like me, want to keep fit and healthy (maybe even have daydreams about getting that 6-pack one day…) but the thought of running on grey, rainy days or sharing weights with sweaty bodybuilders is not your cup of tea, then give dance a go! No matter what music you are into, what fashion, or even what your physical capabilities are, there will be a dance group or class out there for you…Swing, Hip Hop, Ballroom, Aerial, Ballet, Contemporary, Latin, Pole, Jazz, the list goes on and on….
Here are some really interesting groups that I love:
Inclusive Contemporary (Greenwich Dance)
Swing Patrol (Lots of London locations) my fiancé and I have started learning Swing here, and we LOVE it.
Ballet Fusion (The Factory)
World Dance (Danceworks)
Pole Dance (Kelechnekoff Fitness)
Sounds obvious, that’s because it’s true – dance is an all-rounder when it comes to fitness.
6. No more Lower Back Pain!
Dance gave me the gift of a pain-free back! And I know a lot of my clients would love that too.
When I was only 15 years old, I had a lower back spasm, that left me unable to walk or dance properly for months, at the time doctors advised I should not dance again, as my test results had shown that I had the spine of a 50 year old, with lots of spinal disc degeneration. Luckily, I was a stubborn teenager, with amazing parents, so I went back to dance (with the help of Pilates and pain killers) – but I went back smarter than before. I now actually listened to the teachers when they taught me how to use my core, focus on alignment and that I should stretch every day. Slowly, without me noticing, my back pain decreased, until one day I could dance for 8 hours straight feeling nothing but euphoria.
I am not promising the same level of success, but I know that dancing gave my core muscles the strength to support my back, and the flexibility to reduce pulling and misalignment on my spine.
Remember, stretching is essential for everyone, as it improves muscular balance and posture by realigning tissue and thereby reducing the effort it takes to maintain good posture throughout the day, whether you dance or not.
7. Dancing lowers the risk of dementia.
Finally, for those of us who are a little older, or are already future proofing your minds, I wanted to pass on that dance is currently the only physical activity associated with a lower risk of dementia.
Please read more about it here.
Thank you for reading, and have fun putting on those dancing shoes…
Read the International Dance Day Message 2018, by Salia Sanou, Burkina Faso
BA (Hons) STT Dip LSSM, IHM, TFM, NLFM, Meditation Teacher, Baby Massage