Friday , April 16 2021

Dance For The Health Of It.

Dance For The Health Of ItJust in time for National Physical Fitness Month—the not so hidden benefits of bustin’ a move…!
The next time someone asks you to dance—get up and go for it. Sure, they may just want to have fun, which is reason enough. But they may also have your health in mind. Dancing, according to a whole host of medical and psychological experts, is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body, your mind and your spirit.
Something Dr. Justin Ferns, a cardiologist with ICE, has known for years. In fact, Dr. Ferns founded Dancing With the Doctors eight years ago to give something back to his community. He also introduced CardioWaltz to the general public as a way to stay fit and have fun at the same time. He knows the benefits of dance firsthand—he regularly competes on the swing and country circuits and has danced his way to 7 World Championships.
You may be thinking the good doctor’s one of those blessed with the dancing gene whereas you were cursed with two left feet. Perhaps. But many researchers believe we are all hard-wired to dance; that it’s instinct. They point to primitive cultures who used “rhythmic movement” to communicate. Ever wonder why your foot starts tapping when a particular song comes on? It’s that instinct making connections with the timing circuits in your brain. So, you have the “dancing gene.” The ones on the dance floor putting your moves to shame may simply have stronger connections than you.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of reasons to swallow your pride and get out on that floor. Dancing benefits go straight to your heart by improving circulation and strengthening your cardiovascular system. In fact, one study showed that dance actually improves on the benefits of traditional cardio exercise.
At its heart, dance is quite liter-ally an aerobic exercise and aerobics (dancing) has been shown to boost memory and even fight off dementia. The reason has to do with the area known as the hippocampus in our brains. That pan of the brain deals in memory and tends to shrink as we age. Aerobic exercise can. actually reverse that trend.
Want to reduce stress and depression? Crank up the runes and grab your partner for some tango time, foxtrot fun, swinging salsa or a willowy waltz. Studies have shown that dancing can make marked improvements in both of those.
Still, one of the weightier reasons for slipping on the dance shoes is one that weighs on the minds of a lot of people-weight. Well, here’s a tidbit for the dedicated joggers and cyclers out there: a study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology noted that aerobic dance training will help bum the calories, drop the weight and improve aerobic conditioning just as well as the bike or the treadmill.
There are so many reasons to get up and dance that after awhile it sounds almost too good to be true. So yes, even though dancing strengthens your heart, lowers stress, flexes the joints, increases energy, brightens the mood and sloughs off those dreaded extra pounds, the best of all reasons may simply be that it’s a fun way to make new friends. Dance classes and dance outings are by their very nature, social events. And we are social animals-that’s hardwired into our brains as well. So much so that some studies claim expanding your circle of friends and forging positive new relation-ships ranks right up there with regular exercise and eating a healthy diet.
You can’t have too much fun or too many friends … can you? That’s a whole different article. But to us, the short answer would have to be-no. So, go on. Take your partner out for a spin around the dance floor-just for the health of it. Your Saturday nights-and your waistline-will never be the same again.

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