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Dance Your Way to Fitness

By Paul Rothbart

Staying physically fit is essential to maintaining good health. There are many forms of exercise so there is no need to drag yourself through workouts you don't enjoy. Some people like running, others swimming, for some, pumping iron is exhilarating. There is one form of exercise that you may sometimes do without realizing it's a workout. Dancing is popular and lots of fun and thus an excellent way to get and stay in shape. Here are some advantages to a dance workout.

It's Not Hard to Do

Many types of exercise require some skill to perform effectively. Efficient strides, strokes, and lifting techniques may be necessary to maximize effectiveness and prevent injury. Sports are competitive and it can be embarrassing to be a lesser athlete than the other players. Unless you play to try out for a ballet company, there is no pressure to be a great or even good dancer. Just move to the music in the privacy of your own home. As long as it's active, your dancing is effective.

It's Great Cardio

When you dance, your heart pumps faster, your respiration rises. This is exactly what you need to work your cardiovascular system. The popularity of aerobic dance videos in the 1980s was not just a fad. Dancing targets the five components of fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition. With 30 minutes a day, five times a week of an activity you probably already do at least occasionally, you can drop extra pounds and strengthen your core, heart, and lungs.

It's Good for Mental Health

Though dancing would appear to be a purely physical activity, all of those moves you're busting are conjoined up by your brain. Learning, creating, and performing dance steps can improve memory and cognitive function. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who dance regularly may have as much as a 76 percent reduction of dementia risk. 

It Can Be Social

Although you can dance alone, it's also a great activity to do with other people. Social engagement is also good for mental health. Interacting with others stimulates the brain to produce feel-good hormones. Find a partner or partners and get even more benefits from dancing.

Staying physically and mentally fit does require some effort. But workouts don't have to be an exercise in drudgery. Get out on the dance floor, feel the rhythm, cut a rug, and improve your level of fitness. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Hermitage, Tenn.

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