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Dance Like An Idiot (or The Many Benefits of Dancing)

I can’t say that I’ve ever watched Dancing with the Stars, but I’m aware of it, and I know that the dancers are in great shape and that the contestants often lose weight during their stint. I tried Zumba once, and it wasn’t for me, but I know so many people that love it. I even tried a hip-hop dance class once, and essentially the instructor let me know that I was terrible and uncoordinated. “Can you see me? Can you see what I’m doing?” “Yes, I just can’t do it.” Embarassing.

I’m a terrible dancer (and worse singer). It would be painful for others to watch me attempt to dance. But I think dance is wonderful for our physical and mental well-being. We should all be dancing, whether formal or informal. Dance has been with us since ancient times as part of rituals and celebrations and a part of our cultures. A slew of benefits can be attributed to the many and various forms of dancing. My intent is to cover some of those in this post.

But, first, I want to tell you that if you are a horrible dancer like me and can’t follow instruction (either in a class or with a video), don’t avoid dance. Just dance alone and dance like an idiot. Dance for the pure enjoyment of it. When you just let your body move however you feel like to music that you love and that makes you want to dance, then you’ll enjoy it and reap the benefits. I’m on the computer through most of the day, but sometimes I take dance breaks (I mostly work from home) and put on a song that makes me want to move. I just do whatever movement I feel in the moment and sing along and, basically, dance like an idiot. It makes me feel great! And it is great for me…




  1. Weight Loss – Obviously this aspect gets a lot of attention. Dance certainly can provide weight loss benefits, but be sure to also combine dance with a healthy diet and some strength training. You’ll get more weight loss benefit if you change up your dance style regularly. Jazz can be a good form for weight loss.
  2. Flexibility – Dancing like an idiot like me will help keep you loose and limber, but more formal dance can help with flexibility. Certain forms of dance do more for your flexibility than others, ballet would be one. Most dance challenges your body through greater ranges of motion than running/walking or several other forms of exercise.
  3. Stronger Muscles & Bones – Even though I’m a big fan of weightlifting for strong muscles and bones, dance can also provide those benefits. Jazz, ballet, pole, and ballroom dancing are known to build strength. The strength is often more in the leg muscles, but partner dancing that requires you to lift, push, pull, or resist a partner can increase upper body strength. Pole dancing definitely helps with upper body strength.
  4. Muscle Endurance – The longer you put your muscles through physically demanding activity, the better they will become at enduring activity without fatiguing. Vigorous dancing can improve muscle endurance. Pole dancing can be a good form for muscle endurance.
  5. Better Balance & Posture – Regular dance can recruit the use of your “stabilizer” muscles and allow you better control of your body. Formal dance can often help you work on your posture and recruit “postural” muscles.
  6. Stress Reduction – Let yourself go with the music and sing with it. This is sure to make you feel joy and eliminate stress. The type of dance and your ability and attitude will affect how much stress reduction benefit you get from dance. Taking a dance class is stressful for me, but shaking my booty in my bedroom is very stress relieving.
  7. Brain Boost – Science tells us that aerobic exercise boosts the parts of our brain related to memory. Dance is certainly aerobic. But one study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that dance was particularly effective in warding off dementia. Read this article to learn more about that study and how dance keeps your brain sharp.
  8. Less Depression – Studies have shown that people who participate in group dance showed less depression than before they started the group dance. Dance can increase your level of serotonin, your brain’s feel good and happy neurotransmitter.
  9. Creative Boost – Because many forms of dance are really forms of creative art, dance can help get your creative juices flowing. When you learn about new dance forms, it can also enhance your overall ability to learn.
  10. Heart Health – Most aerobic activity (not in excess) can benefit our cardiovascular health, but some studies have suggested that dance is more beneficial than walking on a treadmill or using an exercise bike.
  11. More Energy – Weekly dancing can increase your energy levels. The more you dance, the more energy you have for life.
  12. Better Sex – Exercise in general can boost your sex life (more energy, better body), but dance has more ability to get you in touch with your body than using weight machines or running. Belly, pole, and salsa dancing are forms of dance that focus on sensuality.
  13. New Friends – If you are the type to enjoy group dance/dance classes, then you have the potential to make some new friends. I noticed at the gym I used to go to that the women who did Zumba formed some pretty strong bonds. And positive social relationships can bring more happiness. And friends that you meet related to physical activity are likely to be friends that will help encourage you towards healthier choices in your life. By the way, square dancing is very social.
  14. More Confidence – People tend to feel better about themselves when they gain new skills and conquer new challenges. Plus, dance can allow you to better express your personality.

So, just dance. Look into the different types of dance and try one you think you might enjoy or one that focuses more on the benefits that you are trying to gain. Types include line, jazz, tap, folk, ballet, hip-hop, ballroom, belly, pole, African, and salsa (that’s just a few of the many). Look for classes in your area, watch a video, or crank up some music and dance like an idiot.

People Dancing at a Discotheque


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