Dancing Through Lockdown
What comes to mind when I mention the word ‘dance’? Dancing your cares away on a night out? Boogieing to your favourite tunes in the kitchen? Imagining yourself on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’? Or does the thought of dancing fill you with dread?!
It is widely known that dance accompanied ancient rituals, special events and spiritual gatherings in our earliest cultures. Today it is still one of the most expressive forms of communication that we know.
Dance isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for those of you who enjoy moving your body to music (whether it be street dance or ballet, latin and ballroom or belly dance), the physical and mental benefits are plentiful…
Dance is a brilliant way to strengthen your heart, lungs, muscles and bones. Not to mention the improved flexibility and balance that entails.
When you dance, endorphins (those happy hormones we talked about in ‘Exercise on the brain’) are released which help to reduce stress and leave you feeling calmer and happier. I enjoy teaching all of my fitness classes and doing all of my circuits, swiss ball, resistance band and kettlebell workouts, but nothing beats the feeling I get when I dance. Those happy hormones are released in abundance! You can go into a class feeling low and come out feeling fabulous.
It might not seem it at the end of a hard workout, but doing more exercise actually gives you more energy! Dancing gets your heart rate up, which requires a burst of energy and the release of endorphins. It will also often lead to a better night’s sleep, which results in more energy the following day.
Remember, the fitter you are, the better your endurance, so you will have more energy left over. If you find yourself feeling a little tired or sluggish and have convinced yourself that you don’t have the energy to exercise, give it a try and see how you feel after!
Speaking from personal experience, dance has really helped my self-esteem. It has given me the confidence to perform in front of hundreds of people and to feel comfortable in front of a class. And I’ve seen that happen to lots of others too – people who at first seem shy or unsure are surprised how quickly they let themselves go, grow in confidence and dance comfortably in front of others!
There have been some fascinating studies about the effects of dance on the brain. Time and time again dancing has proven itself superior to working out in a gym when it comes to positive brain impact. Why? Concentrating on and remembering the different sequences of dance steps exercises our cognitive processes and helps to boost memory. In fact, studies have gone as far as to suggest that dancing frequently can reduce the risk of dementia by up to 76%.
Thinking of learning to dance now? There are a variety of adult dance classes in the Reading area. I can highly recommend the County School of Dance if you fancy quickstepping around the ballroom as seen on ‘Strictly’.
Or why not try a dance fitness class? Dance fitness is an exercise class that combines dance and fitness in an energetic and fun workout where no partner is necessary. With easy-to-follow steps and dance styles that vary in degrees of intensity, you certainly don’t need to be a dancer to enjoy these classes…and you’ll be having so much fun that you won’t
realise how hard you are working!
And if you’d prefer to try it out alone first, then now might be the perfect time to take advantage of lockdown restrictions, by joining my online dance fitness sessions. You can get your dance fix in the comfort of your own living room! My pre-recorded Fitsteps and Cardio Dance Mix classes give you the freedom to work out at a time that is convenient for you, and it’s a great way to stay active and positive in these difficult times.
Dance has evolved in so many ways and continues to be an important part of society. Remember that whether you perform, attend classes or secretly dance behind closed doors, everyone is a dancer!