Guest post from the owner of one of our favorite dance studios in Newton about the love, joy, AND health benefits of dance!
Why dance? For me, the answer is easy. I just love the way my body feels when it is moving to music. I love the way it feels to soar through the air as I leap. I love finishing a pirouette just perfectly. I love when a particular style just feels “right” on my body. I even love the sensation of sweat dripping down my face after a particularly aerobically challenging recital dance! I just love to dance.
But, you know what I think is so cool? Nobody is going to have the same answer as mine. And, that is what makes dance so amazing. One of our new 3-year-old students at All That Jazz this year told her parents after her first pre-ballet/tap class that “dancing makes me happy in my heart.” I loved hearing this so much! Here is a child who is still learning how to talk and yet she so eloquently summarized why she loved her first dance class so much.
Interestingly, there is actually a more technical and medical answer to the question “Why Dance,” too. There have been several recent studies conducted on the benefits of dance and dementia. One such study was conducted by the journal, Frontiers: "Dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain." ScienceDaily in August 2017.
"Exercise has the beneficial effect of slowing down or even counteracting age-related decline in mental and physical capacity," says Dr Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, based at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, Germany. "In this study, we show that two different types of physical exercise (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. In comparison, it was only dancing that lead to noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance... I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age."
In other words, dancing on a regular basis can actually keep your body AND your brain healthy, especially as you get older. While exercise of any kind is important and beneficial for your overall well-being, there is clearly growing research to suggest that dancing can actually make you SMARTER and stay this way for as long as you keep dancing.
So, again, I ask, Why Dance? Whether it is because it makes your heart happy, or your brain happy, as long as it makes YOU happy, just do it!
Deb Vogel, Director of All That Jazz Dance Studio in Newton