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The Health Benefits of “Getting Down”

At New Years we promised to share all the benefits of dance and how dancing can help you achieve those pesky New Year’s resolutions. We thought we’d start with the most obvious – physical health.

Perhaps Vincent Price’s Michael Jackson’s Thriller said it best:

And whomsoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell

Ok…so maybe this is a little extreme. You won’t necessarily have to face the hell-hounds or join the walking dead if you don’t dance…but there is proof that having “the soul for getting down” could be a key to better health and is a great way to add to  your fitness journey!

Dancing can be a way to stay fit no matter what your age, size, fitness level or dance ability! Dancing provides a full range of physical 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, and improved balance and spatial awareness!

“A regular whirl on the dance floor may lower your odds of dying from heart disease, a new study suggests… After an average follow-up of nearly 10 years, researchers found that moderate-intensity dancing was linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular death. This benefit was slightly better than that seen with walking, and possibly stronger in women than men.” – Harvard Health Publishing

It’s a fact that dancing burns calories. Ballroom dancing is no exception. Harvard Medical School indicates that depending on the speed of the dance step and the weight of the dancer, a dancer can burn anywhere between 330 – 488 calories per hour. Of course, when you spend a night ballroom dancing you are apt to do more than one kind of dance and you’re apt to dance for longer than an hour. You might be able to burn off as much as 1,000 calories or more in one night! Beats walking on a treadmill and staring at the wall!

Obviously dancing is primarily in the legs, but many aren’t aware that it also requires a strong core to maintain proper dance posture, it builds strong arms through hold positions for long periods of time, and can increase strength and flexibility to the back and rib cage for achieving more sophisticated technique. Dance also increases the strength of your feet, ankles and knees, and of weight-bearing bones, all using lower impact movements than other exercises such as running.

Those who “have the soul for getting down” will tell you that all this comes with hard work, yes…but also FUN work! There’s no need to become a zombie! Throw on some music and DANCE!! And if you’re not sure how…we’re pretty sure we know some people who can help you out with that!

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