Listen to Dr Priyanka Shekar

01st Dec 2022 • 03 Min and 58 Sec

Start dancing and let your heartbeat go. In this episode, let’s explore the benefits dancing has on our mental and physical health.

We are all mortal who wants to improve our health and well-being with simple things without any hassle, but what is the right advice? Is it a morning walk? Or squats? Or eating dark chocolate to develop mental health? Welcome to the Optimists podcast, I’m Dr. Priyanka, and this is “One Simple Thing.” Here you will learn just one thing to improve your health in ways you might not expect.

It is no secret that dancing helps posture and flexibility, but recent research suggests that it can also be effective as a high-intensity workout, help depression, and lower the risks of heart disease and stroke; of course, it will be good to be loose and dance. 

Dancing has been shown to have a surprising number of health benefits and to attain them, you don’t have to be a born dancer, just an occasional bit of dancing will have a positive impact on your mental and physical well-being. 

For example, dancing can play a big role in keeping our hearts and brains healthy. Compared to other activities, dancing is linked to reduced risks of stroke or heart attacks in 12 years of study in 50,000 adults. 

Dancing can also have a positive impact on our mental health; when scientists looked at 40 studies involving dancing movement therapy, they found that dancing reduces anxiety and depression and improves the quality of life and cognitive skills. 

Let’s take a deep dive into the science behind dancing. 

According to Julia F. Christensen, a postdoctoral, dancing can reduce anxiety, boost our mood, reduce stress hormones, improve balance and coordination in the elderly, and increase interoceptive accuracy. Dancing has also been shown to trigger new connections in the brain; it spurs neuroplasticity, improves memory and attention, and helps us to be better at multi-tasking and planning. 

Still, many people aren’t considering dancing as physical exercise, but dancing gets our heart over 140 beats per minute, which makes it similar to aerobic exercise, and it also can have a positive effect on our sleep quality and reduces hypertension. 

Dancing adds effects that we get from other activities; we get the music in it, we move in synchrony with others, and we bond with others through the movement mechanism in our brain. 

Are you worried that you are not a dancer?

Fact! You are a natural dancer, as we all are. The thing is, the human species is the only species that has some specific type of connection between ears and legs. 

Some longitudinal studies suggest that people who do recreational dancing throughout the years have less risk of developing dementia and heart disease at all ages. They will also have generally better health markers, so the mechanisms by which dancing has these potent effects might be the reduction of oxidative stress.

There are studies comparing people who listen to music and who dance to music; there was a reduction of stress hormone levels after the session in people who dance. 

Remember, dancing is one of the best ways to keep the mind and body healthy since it relieves stress and gives a great workout! It is also fun to dance! So set your playlist with some good dancing tunes. 

That’s one thing to include in your daily routine for improving your body and life. Join me next time on “One simple thing” for a better tomorrow.