How to get a healthy heart and boost your brainpower with dance

Friday 19 December 2014
  • Contemporary dance class

Find yourself tapping your feet when a good song comes on the radio?

Or do you unconsciously bust a move when the beat drops?

The majority of us just can’t help it. We’re actually hardwired to move to the rhythm of music.

Now some people can do this better than others, not everyone is born to boogie. But the good news is that you don’t need to be ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’ standard to reap the benefits of dance.

Dance yourself fit

For starters it’s great cardio. Dancing is non-stop movement and it’s a full-body workout that can improve your heart health and build stamina.

It can also help to strengthen your muscles and keep your joints healthy, improving your overall flexibility.

There are reams of other health benefits and good reasons to start dancing from posture improvement to weight loss, but it doesn’t stop there.

Dance your way to a degree

Dancing on a regular basis can literally make you smarter. Plus it can also protect against dementia in later life.

Learning and remembering choreography is obviously good brain training but believe it or not, freestyle is actually better for you. This is due to the fact that when you're not following a routine, your brain is constantly active making split-second decisions figuring out your next dance move.

The problem is that most people have a crisis of confidence when it comes to dancing, especially off the cuff. If you don’t have any moves to freestyle with then the dance floor can be a daunting place.

The solution – find a dance style you love and learn some moves. Then the next time you hit the dance floor, you can let loose, freestyle and look good doing it.

Choose your move(s)

One of the best things about dance is that there are so many styles to choose from and something to suit everybody and every need.

If you don’t know what kind of dance you like, experiment and find your groove.

It can also depend on what you would like to achieve with your dancing. For example, if you’re a beginner and want to improve your coordination, perhaps try something slower-paced such as a lead and follow style of dance. To burn calories and for lots of booty shaking, go for Zumba or hip hop. For mood boosting, stress relieving, feel-good dancing try tango or commercial jazz. Or for super strength training and fitness fun, try pole dancing.

So if you’re looking for something a bit different which is a full-body workout, can help boost your brainpower and is a fun, social way to keep fit – quit just tapping your feet and try dancing.

Amy Cox

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AMY COX
Amy is UQ Sport’s resident blogger. She’s a peanut-butter loving Brit, who exercises to eat whatever she wants. You’ll find Amy either in the gym, playing badminton or doing the wrong moves in group fitness classes.