Doing this activity regularly is beneficial for the body and mind: it strengthens the muscles and has a positive influence on mood.
Medical Advisor Eliana Arcila P., specialist in Sports Medicine
We all have times when we need to release tension, reduce anxiety and simply relax. Dancing is a great alternative for managing stress and hard times. This activity releases endorphins, substances that contribute to a positive mood, and music activates pleasure centers in the brain that intensify feelings and emotions.
In addition to being a therapeutic activity, dancing offers many benefits to the body. According to specialist Eliana Arcila, while dancing every once in a while can be fun, doing it regularly (for a mid- to long-term period) can improve your cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), more commonly referred to as your “physical condition.”
From her experience, dancing involves burning a significant amount of calories, which varies depending on the intensity and rhythm of the music and on how long you dance for. It can also contribute greatly to losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. The movements of its different styles involve large muscle groups such as the upper limbs, abdomen, back, gluteal muscles and lower limbs.
“Dance involves components of proprioception (awareness of one’s body position), balance and flexibility, and can even incorporate muscle strength work,” Arcila adds. Similarly, it improves quality of life in different ways: it promotes creativity and social interaction, brings happiness and enjoyment, contributes to reducing symptoms of depression, raises self-esteem and provides great mental health benefits.
Frequency is key
One advantage of dancing is that because it is an enjoyable activity, this lowers the perception of the effort it takes to do it, which contributes to achieving greater benefits. “There is no specific time or weekly limit to practicing it, like other sports, as this depends on individual preferences and conditions,” the specialist indicates.
According to worldwide organizations such as the World Health Organization and the American College of Sports Medicine, the general recommendation for maintaining cardiovascular health is to get 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity•
As a cardiovascular exercise, dance helps prevent and manage chronic, non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis, among others.
Perfect for kids
For kids, dance is a complete exercise. It has a positive effect on their physical condition, contributes to managing their posture, and increases their motor skills, coordination and balance. It also provides them with social skills, teamwork skills, friendships and self-esteem and can also help them develop their talents in preparation for professional dance and other artistic expressions.
For the elderly
Senior citizens with mobility limitations can even dance while sitting in a wheelchair. Structured dance programs have had positive results for this population.
Having comfortable athletic shoes with proper shock absorption is important as well as breathable clothing that allows for movement. If you are dancing during the day outside, sunblock is a must and remember to stay hydrated!
For those who are starting a physical activity for the first time, the suggestion is to begin with sessions that are shorter than 60 minutes and gradually work your way up depending on how your body responds and on your motivation. For people who suffer from heart disease, metabolic disease or preexisting musculoskeletal conditions, get examined by a specialist in sports medicine who can make a diagnosis and provide proper indications for exercise.
If someone is experiencing chest pain, difficulty breathing, nausea, headaches or changes to their state of consciousness while dancing, seek immediate medical attention.