When you were younger, spending a Friday or Saturday night cutting a rug was common.
But as you’ve gotten older, you’re likely spending more evenings on the couch than nights out on the town. Am I right?
You’re not alone. I am too.
And that’s a shame because dancing is a great whole body workout. Yet it doesn’t seem like exercise at all. It just feels FUN.
And the best part is you don’t have to stay out to 2 AM to reap the benefits of dancing. Just shove the coffee table aside, strap on your dancing shoes, and turn on some tunes.
Not quite enough space in your living room to do a jig? Check your local listing for community center dances, classes, or Meetups.
Or Google “USA Dance” a social dancing organization that hosts dances for folks of all ages and ability levels all over the United States.
5 benefits of dancing that will make you want to bust a move
Remember, dancing isn’t just fun. There are some other major benefits of dancing too.
Following are five surprising reasons to let your inner dancing queen or king out more often.
1. Lower your “brain age”:
A stack of research links dancing with a “younger,” healthier brain. Experts say, without a doubt, a regular dance habit can improve cognitive function.
Researchers report dancing increases the amount of white matter in the brain. And it’s white matter which sends the messages that allow you to access information, make decisions, and stay alert.
Learning new steps and the concentration and socializing that go hand-in-hand with dancing all play a role in protecting what makes you, you. And they’re what help lower your risk of dementia too.
2. Rock solid balance:
Falls are one of the top causes of injury and hospitalization among seniors. Which is why good balance and flexibility are critical to staying healthy as we age. In fact, they could mean the difference between living a life of independence or one of disability and dependence on others.
And it turns out dancing can help with both.
Two separate university studies found that in some cases dancing for as little as one hour a week can significantly improve balance, flexibility, and posture. In other words it can make falling less likely for everyone regardless of age.
3. Bones “of steel”:
The International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 14 million Americans will have osteoporosis by 2020. Which, of course, is just two years from now.
If you’ve already been diagnosed, it may feel like your weakening bones are more of a sentence than a diagnosis. But I have some good news. Austrian researchers showed that dancing can actually IMPROVE bone density in folks with osteoporosis.
All it took was dancing three times a week, for a little less than an hour at a time. And the reward was significantly stronger and healthier bones.
4. Everyday fitness:
Scientists call it functional fitness, but you and I just call it living.
I’m talking about the stuff you do every day such as crossing the street before a light changes. Or carrying your own groceries into the house. The kinds of things that keep you independent and living on your own as you age.
And it turns out regularly taking a spin around the dance floor (or your own living room) supports all your daily activities of living. In fact, when Hawaiian researchers took a more in-depth look at 18 different studies, they found that dancing significantly improved the functional fitness of volunteers across the board.
5. Healthy heart:
Dancing is an aerobic activity. So naturally, your heart loves it. And a 10-year study revealed just how much.
According to researchers, dancing isn’t only linked to a healthier heart. Folks who make dancing a part of their regular routine are far less likely to die from heart disease. Meaning it’s not just loads of fun, it’s also a literal lifesaver.
So go ahead and strap on your dancing shoes, crank up the tunes, and cut a rug and start reaping the benefits of dancing. You may not still be a teenager, but that doesn’t mean you can’t twist again as if you still are.