True, we all have different types of tunes and tones that make us most happy, but if the right music comes along, just about anyone can nod our heads, snap our fingers, tap our feet, or simply smile. Singing along is optional, of course, depending who’s nearby and our self-confidence.
But what’s especially enjoyable, as the team at Accredited Home Care will tell us, is when a piece of music makes us want to get up and dance.
Dancing doesn’t have to be anything too crazy, intense or uncomfortable – even a beat or a song that’s slow and mild can still be soothing, trigger happy memories from the past and get our bodies moving. Likewise, even if we can’t get up well anymore, we can still feel the beat.
The activity of dancing can have significant benefits to brain and body, starting with allowing us a fun and easy way to move our limbs, have a good cardio workout and make us happy.
Even better, research into dementia shows that dancing and music can do other good things, even reverse some damage to the brain that may have taken place with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
So if you’re looking for opportunities to get your dance on, go for it! There’s never a bad occasion to start moving around more, especially when your favorite tunes are playing.
This month has even more reasons to start cutting the rug or dance if you need reasons! April 19-28 is considered National Dance Week, a time of year when the National Dance Foundation encourages and invites everyone to dance more and promote the positive values of dancing to their friends, family, neighbors and local communities.
The foundation’s goal isn’t just to make individuals feel good when they cut loose and get more rhythmic, but make society a better place if all of us bring more motion into our lives. More dancing equals better living and can even lead us all to a better world. Nice, right?
There are plenty of reasons why dancing can be appealing to all ages and abilities.
- No equipment needed. Some forms of exercise do require various gadgets and tools if you are seeking a thorough workout. This could be weights, bands, or bars, even yoga mats. Some say a full-body workout requires going to the gym with all those complex machines like treadmills and stationary bikes. But with dancing, all you need is music and perhaps a little space to move around.
- Different paces. Today’s electronic options make it even easier to put together a playlist of your favorite songs at different speeds. Start with something slow, then build up to something faster and then cool down and you’ve got yourself a workout. As you get familiar with your different playlists, you’ll know how much time you have left and when you can have a breather. Or, if you still prefer past technology, you can put on a tape, CD or record with favorite tunes for dancing/exercising.
- Great memories. You likely have good times associated with favorite songs from your past. Though you may not be able to boogie down as much or as long as you used to, you can still enjoy these memories when a favorite song comes on.
- Feel better. Happier memories can bring forth endorphins, which are happy chemicals in the brain which are known to temporarily cut down on depression and anxiety. This effect has been the subject of several mental health studies. “Dance and Mental Therapy” is even recognized as an effective treatment method. It has the same approach as art therapy, where patients find ways to express their emotions, through performance art instead of visual art.
- Ease pain. Besides a mental boost, endorphins can not only help you feel good but reduce pain in the body. Even simply stretching out your limbs rhythmically can reduce stiffness, improve flexibility and help your balance. Exercise while dancing can often be more enjoyable than simply exercising and stretching on your own.
- Provides a “positive distraction.” This term describes how focusing on the act of dancing can help take your mind off other stresses in your life. This could be everything from counting your steps as you waltz to savoring the music to being aware of your partner to simply enjoying the moment.
- Social boost. If you’re able to get out, community centers, civic groups or fraternal organizations may occasionally have dances. Some retirement communities may also have them and non-residents may be welcome. You may have the opportunity to dance with others, watch the fun and perhaps make some friends.
Overall, dancing can be thought of as a useful activity in all sorts of ways.