Study after study link dance with a variety of increased health benefits, among them:
Better Overall Health
Protect Important Organs (Heart, Brain)
Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Lower Bad Cholesterol/Elevate Good Cholesterol
Lower Blood Pressure
Strengthen Bones & Muscles
Strengthen Your Immune
Lower Your Risk for Dementia/Alzheimer’s
Lose Weight/Tone Body
Burn More Calories (compared to walking, biking & swimming)
Improve Mental Agility
Creates Neural Pathways
Build Cognitive Reserves
Increase the Brain Chemicals that Encourage Nerve Cells to Grow
Reverse Natural Hippocampus Volume Loss (the part of the brain that controls memory)
Improve Psychological Well-Being/Outlook (dancing increases Serotonin level)
Sense of Community
Meet New People
Increase Social Bonds
For More Information:
The RSCDS Health Strategy: https://www.rscds.org/article/health-strategy
The RSCDS Health Strategy has been developed in response to the increasing evidence of the positive health benefits of regular, moderate and intense dance activity. The Strategy utilizes the scientific findings that point to the benefits of Scottish Country Dancing. The RSCDS emphasizes the three elements of fitness, fun and friendship that Scottish Country Dancing provides.
The Benefits of Dance: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/dance-workout
Moving to the beat is "an instinctive response," says Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., a music and sports researcher and coauthor of Inside Sport Psychology. You're hardwired to sync up your own movements to music, possibly because even primitive cultures used rhythmic movements to express themselves. Richard Ebstein, Ph.D., a professor in the psychology department at the National University of Singapore, adds that it's a universal phenomenon. Even birds and bees use dance to communicate.
The instinctual rhythm response starts in your brain, where musical vibrations light up timing circuits that prompt you to reflexively bust a move. These same circuits are intertwined with your brain's communication and memory systems, which is why songs can trigger emotional reactions
"The brain rewires itself based on use," explains Joe Verghese, M.D., a professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The more time you spend on the dance floor, the more you train your brain to open those feel-good floodgates—and the more you'll start to amp up your overall well-being.
To wit, a study in Circulation: Heart Failure found that people with cardiac conditions who danced for just 20 minutes three times a week saw their heart health improve significantly more than those who stuck to traditional cardio workouts. Dancing can also help make your skeleton strong, per the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and it does wonders for your overall makeup: When researchers compared dancers with nondancers, they found evidence that dancing may preserve both motor skills and perceptual abilities.
The ample flow of mood-improving chemicals that dancing releases means, of course, that raising the roof can elevate your mental state. Just one lively dance session can slay depression more than vigorous exercise or listening to upbeat music, according to a study in The Arts in Psychotherapy. Getting jiggy with others also leads to less stress and stronger social bonds, key factors in both mental and physical health, says Verghese.
But perhaps the coolest part about grooving is that it saves your mind—literally. Dancing gives your noggin's memory, coordination, and focus areas an intense workout, leading to stronger synapses and beefed-up gray matter. The result: Dancers can be sharper in the short term and less likely to succumb to brain diseases in the long run. A New England Journal of Medicine study of 11 physical activities found that dancing was the only one that lowered dementia risk by a whopping 76 percent.
Reduce Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia: http://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/smarter.htm
A study by Albert Einstein College of
Medicine measured mental acuity in aging by checking the impact of physical and
cognitive activities. They
studied activities such as reading books, writing for pleasure, doing crossword
puzzles, playing cards and playing musical instruments as well as physical
activities like playing tennis or golf, swimming, bicycling, dancing, walking
for exercise and doing housework.
The study found that while almost none of the physical activities appeared to offer any protection against dementia; there was one important exception: frequent dancing. It provided the greatest risk reduction of any activity studied, cognitive or physical. Participation in mentally engaging activities such as dancing lowers the risk of dementia by improving neural qualities. Dancing integrates several brain functions at once — kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional — further increasing your neural connectivity.
The study made a few other important suggestions: do it often, more is better and start it now.
Dancing as a Workout: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/dance-for-exercise