According to mentalhealth.org 74% of UK adults have felt stressed at some point over the last year, meaning as individuals we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what activities we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.
One of the answers to some of our stress-related problems could be to dance. Dancing boosts your heart rate, works your leg muscles and forces you to work on coordination and balance. But the benefits of dancing go way beyond the physical, it can also do quite the number on your mental wellbeing.
Scientifically when the body feels good, the mind does too. Dancing helps reduce levels of cortisol – a stress hormone – and causes the body to produce endorphins, neurotransmitters that create a feeling of comfort, relaxation, fun and power; in other words, dancing makes us happy!
Distract yourself from everyday life
Dancing relieves stress by helping you distance yourself from stressful events in your life, allowing your brain to recharge and face the next day with renewed energy. When you dance you are so focused on your movement, the music, and your partner, that you can’t think about anything else.
Stress often builds up in the body because we don’t get enough opportunities to express our feelings. Dancing is a great way of dealing with these feelings and releasing them through movement. The fact that you tend to dance to music that you enjoy also contributes to this.
Socialise with other people
Considering that over nine million people in the UK say that they are always or often lonely, which can cause higher levels of stress, attending a dance class could be the way forward. Dancing with a partner can quickly build trust, co-operation and give you positive feelings. There are plenty of websites to find a class near you: Age UK and Dance Near You.
Contribute to your mental and physical health
Nothing makes you feel less stressed than when you know you’re doing great things for your physical and mental health. Keeping your brain active is super important particularly as you get older. A great way to do this is by learning a new dance routine and remembering the steps.
From increased flexibility, stronger bones and building muscle tone, dancing is a total body workout as it requires you to use lots of different parts of your body. You don’t even need to be a particularly good dancer, as long as you’re moving to the music, you’re getting a wide range of physical benefits.
Simply have fun!
Popular TV shows like Strictly Come Dancing prove that dancing is fun to watch and even more fun to participate in. Often people are put off by other exercises like running or cycling as they can be quite repetitive, but with dancing, you can do anything you like, and this makes it a much more enjoyable alternative.