Utilizing Dance in your Wellness Journey

If you are fortunate enough to have the ability to move your body then every day can be a cause for celebration with dance! Dance is a healing and therapeutic form of wellness. It is extremely beneficial for your overall health and well-being. When added to your regular self-care regimen or routine, it can help relieve stress, aid in disease prevention, and has the ability to enhance your mood. You almost can’t talk about dance without talking about its partner in crime, which is music. With music, you are able to let loose and express yourself creatively through dance and movement. It’s a perfect way to bring joy into your life, if even for a moment.

How often have you heard a song and you can’t help but move? For me, anytime I hear Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” it’s as if my body is taken over by a hidden force and I have to start swaying side to side no matter where I might be. Think about what happens whenever you’re at a function and Frankie Beverly and Maze “Before I Let Go” comes on?! If you’re in a room with folks and that song comes on and nobody starts dancing, there’s a problem.

If hearing your favorite song isn’t enough motivation to get moving then do it for your health. Studies conducted by the National Institute of Health show that “even moderate physical activity may increase metabolism in brain regions important for learning and memory.” When we have decreased brain metabolism, it can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Not only that, but increasing your heart rate through physical activities (such as dancing) is proven to decrease your chances of all types of ailments such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even some cancers.

When maintaining a healthy active lifestyle, why not get some of those steps in or cardio minutes by shaking your tail feather? Why do you think Zumba classes are so fun and popular? These classes are well-liked because people get to let their hair down without the hassle and rigidness of more traditional exercise which can be boring and repetitive. Something is freeing about moving your body in ways that are outside of the norm of your everyday life. Our bodies are made up of at least 600 muscles and over 300 joints – we were meant to move!

If you’re still not convinced, consider dancing to help with your mental wellness. Dancing can help with feelings of depression and anxiety. As with any vigorous exercise, dancing can release endorphins, which you may or may not know, are our body’s very own natural pain reliever and pleasure booster. I didn’t know until recently but the word endorphin is actually derived from the opiate drug morphine and endogenous which means “originating from within”. When seeking more holistic and natural solutions to the stresses and pressures of life, it’s refreshing to know that simple activities like dancing can be beneficial.

As a parent, I believe it’s important to pass along healthy lifestyle traits to my children. Engaging in physical activities like dancing with my kids is the best type of exercise. At the height of the 2020 pandemic shutdown, I took a hint from my children’s remote school “movement breaks”. YouTube channels like GoNoodle and KidzBop were our saving grace when we were stuck inside for weeks on end. What did we do after online school was over and we were getting antsy? We’d have full-blown KidzBop Kids dance parties. My children thought mommy was hilarious for dancing along to “Old Town Road” while I was happy to get a cardio workout in.

So if you’re still reluctant to shake your groove thang, I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite Peloton instructors, Jess Sims, “Understand you don’t HAVE to do this, you GET to do this. It’s a privilege to be able to move. Don’t take that for granted!

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