Leslie with happy students.

Dance Your Heart Away

It’s summertime, so let’s celebrate with friends and family! Summer is a great time to get active and take part in physical activities that make you feel better and give you more energy. A wonderful physical activity that I love to recommend is dance. It doesn’t matter if you danced in the past or have never set foot on the dance floor – it’s never too late to take it up again or try it for the first time! Dance is so much more than a great form of exercise – it is a joyful and fun activity that engages your mind and body and keeps you fit and healthy. When you dance, you stimulate your mind to release the hormone serotonin, which lifts up your mood, relieves stress and reduces negative emotions.

There are numerous types of dance classes you can try: aerobic dance, jazz dance, ballroom dancing, line dancing, the cha-cha-cha, ballet and salsa, just to name a few. You can also find dance classes that focus on movement therapy which enhances your cognitive, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. All types of dance can bring joy and a host of physical and physiological benefits.

Dance and fitness classes typically synchronize movement with music which doubles the pleasure! As you dance, the different rhythms and speeds of the music work both your slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers, waking up your body and training it to move at different speeds.

Science says it’s (almost) all good to dance. Dancing can maintain and improve cognitive skills in healthy older adults. One to two hours of dance per week bolsters brain health via multi-sensory stimulation and social interaction. Memorizing choreography increases brain activity, improves neural connectivity and helps long-term memory and spatial recognition. It is also a social and community-oriented activity and a wonderful way to make new friends.

A study examining the effects of eleven types of physical activity, including cycling, golf, swimming, tennis and dance, showed that dance lowers the risk of this debilitating disease. Risks of falling are lower in older adults who dance. Dancing improves balance, coordination, flexibility, strength, posture and more! It is also one of the best weight-bearing exercises that you can do.

Healthy Tip

Summertime brings warmer weather and more outside time. Stay aware of how much time you’re spending in the sun and make an effort to stay hydrated. Over sixty-five percent of your body is made up of water and it critical that you constantly replenish the fluids you lose through sweating.  Be sure to drink fluids before, during and after exercise. Water is a great choice but you can also eat fruits that are mostly made up of water, such as watermelon (eating fruit is also a great way to take in additional vitamins after your work out!) I highly encourage to get started today and have some fun dancing your heart away! For exciting and active dance classes and videos, please contact me to learn more about my Young at Heart Adult Dance and Fitness program.

This article originally appeared in the Ventura Breeze.

Similar Posts