Ballroom dancing is that perfect combination of physical activity, social interaction, and mental stimulation, and it can bring so much to your life. It’s a great workout; has documented physical and mental health benefits; can enhance your social life and self-confidence; reduces stress and depression; promotes relaxation; is a wonderful outlet for self-expression and creativity; and it’s FUN!! With all these reasons to start dancing – we challenge you to find a good reason NOT to.
BALLROOM DANCE IS A GREAT WORK-OUT!
Burn Fat / Lose Weight / Increase Metabolism. Ballroom dancing is a low-impact aerobic activity that burns fat and can boost your metabolism. In just thirty minutes of dance, you can burn between 200-400 calories – that’s roughly the same amount as running or cycling! Burning an extra 300 calories a day can help you lose between ½-1 pound a week (and THAT can add up quickly). In fact, a study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that dance as exercise is just as effective for weight loss as cycling and jogging. Dance training is also an excellent form of maintenance exercise, to stay healthy and toned once you’ve reached your goal weight. And since ballroom dance is so much fun, you’re getting these benefits without feeling like you’re working out!
A reputable ballroom dance class will typically begin with a few stretching exercises, to get you prepped to execute dance steps with comfort & ease, and to protect against dance-related injury. Beginner dancers especially will notice that the more you dance, the more flexibility and range of motion your body develops. Increased flexibility will help your dance abilities, decrease joint pain and muscle soreness after exercise, and improve core strength and balance. Yoga and ballet stretches can be extremely beneficial as pre-ballroom dance warm-ups, but be sure to talk with your Fred Astaire Dance Studios instructor about a recommended warm-up regimen.
Increase Muscle Strength & Endurance. Ballroom dancing contributes to the build-up of muscle strength because the act of dancing forces a dancer’s muscles to resist against their own body weight. The use of quick steps, lifts, twists and turns, will help you develop more muscle strength in your arms, legs and core as your lessons continue. Endurance (in this context) is the capability of your muscles to work harder and longer without succumbing to fatigue. Ballroom dancing as exercise is particularly effective at building up your endurance – so as you work on your dance steps, you are conditioning your muscles to perform these feats with less and less fatigue. And the added benefit is that you’ll look and feel strong, toned and sexy
Great for All Ages. Ballroom dance is a fun activity for everyone – from children to senior citizens, which is another reason it’s such an effective form of exercise. At Fred Astaire Dance Studios, we work with students of all age groups, physical abilities and skill levels – and will create a custom dance program that’s comfortable yet challenging, and will help you attain your dance AND exercise goals.
Ballroom dance can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, strengthen weight-bearing bones, help prevent or slow bone loss related to osteoporosis, lower the risks of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, and promote increased lung capacity. It can help speed up recovery after orthopedic surgery since it’s a lower impact exercise than jogging or biking. The posture and fast movements required in ballroom dance help enhance balance and stability, especially among older people (which can help prevent falls and stumbles). Ballroom dance can even help sharpen your intellectual and mental abilities. A New England Journal of Medicine
report looked at adults for 21 years, and found that dance was one of the only activities that improved both cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of cognitive impairments like dementia. To reap the full body-conditioning benefits of ballroom dance, dance for at least 30 minutes, four days a week.
Research has found that ballroom dancing improves mental acuity throughout a dancer’s life – and that there are also substantial benefits to those who start ballroom dance as adults.
Ballroom dancing can help enhance memory, alertness, awareness, focus, and concentration. It can prevent the onset of dementia and significantly improve spatial memory in elderly patients. Participating in an activity like ballroom dance helps create more intricate neural pathways, which can ward off weakening synapses that often come with old age. Among younger dancers, the results can also be significant. Swedish researchers studying teenaged girls with stress, anxiety and depression saw a decrease in anxiety and stress levels among those who took up partner dancing. They also saw marked improvement in mental health and patients reported being happier than those who did not participate in dancing. Partner dancing can also decrease loneliness among all age groups, because it’s a goal-oriented social activity that brings like-minded people together.
Every opportunity to dance – whether during a lesson or a social event, whether with your significant other or a new dance partner – will help improve your comfort level, confidence and communication skills on the dance floor. As your dance technique improves and you feel more at ease with other people, your sense of accomplishment, motivation and confidence will continue to increase. And even better… you will notice these new attributes taking root in other areas of your life as well.
SELF-EXPRESSION & CREATIVITY
Dancing comes naturally to people, and it’s an easy activity for anyone to partake in. Dance provides an emotional outlet to express your feelings through body movements, with passion and flair. Ballroom dancing can be a wonderful creative outlet to enhance your ability to permanently use these expressive qualities even when you are not dancing, and to share that creativity with others. After only a few lessons, you will start to find yourself moving more and more seamlessly through your dance steps, while you get lost in the music. You will unlock a beautiful rhythm your body may have been hiding. It can also help with your motivation and energy.
STRESS & DEPRESSION
In today’s fast-paced world, we sometimes forget to take a moment for ourselves. Dance lessons provide an enjoyable escape from your normal daily routine, plus a chance to relax, relieve stress, and concentrate just on yourself. Our students often tell us that even if they’re “not feeling it” when they arrive for a lesson, once they stretch and start dancing, they’re able to forget about the day’s triggers, simply b-r-e-a-t-h-e and let the dance take over. There’s also a growing body of evidence to indicate that dancing has a positive effect on the treatment and prevention of depression.
- Group activities such as ballroom dance lessons can expand your sense of social “connectedness”, which is beneficial to lowering stress and depression levels
- Ballroom dance is similar to the practice of mindful meditation (which has been shown to significantly reduce levels of depression and stress) in that it requires you to fully focus your attention, and be present in the moment. This meditative state can help you “switch off” the negative thought patterns associated with depression or stress. For those who are not interested in traditional meditative practices, ballroom dance can be a great way to reap the same benefits.
- The physical act of dancing releases endorphins, and lowers the levels of stress hormones in our bodies. This produces a sense of alert calm, and improves mood and energy levels
- Ballroom dance as anxiety or depression treatment is more likely to be voluntarily continued by participants than some traditional forms of therapy, which can further increases its effectiveness
SOCIAL FUN & FRIENDSHIP
One of the best aspects of ballroom dancing is its ability to bring people together. Ballroom dance lessons offer you a great opportunity to expand your social circle, build connections and engage with people in a low-pressure environment, where there are no expectations. It’s perfect for younger singles who want to step up their dating game, couples looking to reconnect, and for adults interested in discovering something new and inspiring, just for them. Learning to dance does take focus and dedication, but you will be surrounded and encouraged by artistic, positive and cheerful people who make learning enjoyable and rewarding. In group lessons, weekly practice parties, regional and national competitions and studio events and outings, you’ll meet a melting pot of people of all ages, with varied cultural and occupational backgrounds. And the best part? Since they all share your passion for dance, these meetings often transition into lasting friendships. At Fred Astaire Dance Studios, we are truly proud of the supportive, welcoming and warm environment you’ll find in every one of our studios.
So why not try it out? Come alone or with your dance partner. Learn something new, make new friends, and reap numerous health and social benefits… all from merely learning to dance.