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Keep ‘er fit: When is the last time you danced?

By Gary Wallace

When is the last time you danced? I mean let everything go and dance. I’ma just after dancing around my kitchen floor without a care in the world and it felt great!

No need for a dance floor, no need for drink, no need for a crowd – just a little bit of space and some good tunes. I haven’t done it for a while, and I forgot how good it felt. Afterwards I was smiling, buzzing and it inspired me to sit down and write this article.

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The other thing I notice is that I’m always smiling when I’m dancing, which is always a good thing.
The great thing about dancing is that it is so good for your body and mind. Let’s take a look at the physical benefits first.
Improves cardiovascular health

I was only dancing for about 20 minutes, and I got a good sweat up. Research has found that regular moderate-intensity dancing is associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease. And this benefit is significantly more pronounced for dancing than for walking.

Works on your co-ordination

If you want to work on coordination and balance, then try and follow any dance routine. You have timing, rhythm, crossing the middle as well as trying to not fall over.

One study on people over the age of 80 years found that social dancing helped improve balance and walking speed, as well as contributing to a more stable walking pattern.

Strength, agility and flexibility

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You can hit all your physical attributes in a dance session. I was even feeling myself getting a good stretch when kicking my feet left and right.
If you find yourself sitting most of the day, stop, stick on your favourite song and just go for it.

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Increased brain power

As well as the physical benefits it can also help your brain power. Being active and working in a high heart rate zone releases proteins in the brain that will boost learning, memory and concentration levels.

Better mood and less stress

In a study examining people’s motivation for dancing, “mood enhancement” ranked top of the list. This could be because dance is expressive and allows you to escape or let loose in a way that’s usually out-of-bounds in adulthood. I haven’t danced once and came away in a bad mood. Have you?

Boosts self-esteem

Jumping on a treadmill can be great exercise, but also involves running/walking on the spot. With dance, you’re getting a workout and mastering a new skill. This can be incredibly rewarding and improve confidence.

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