Most people don’t decide to take their first ballroom dancing class thinking they will become a ballroom dance champion. So why do people dance? There are as many reasons for taking dance lessons as there are people who made that critical first move and signed up. Here are some of the most common we’ve found here at Fred Astaire Dance Studios.
Physical Health Benefits
Really, we could write all day long about the health benefits of dance, but we’ll try to keep this short and let you do your own, more in-depth research. We’ll start at the top; with our heads! There’s a lot of research connecting exercise with increased brain function, but the latest study published just this spring from researchers at the University of Illinois found that dancing might be the best step in keeping our brains moving as we age. Click here if you would like to decipher all the research talk, but the upshot is this: Researchers found that the cognitive demands of dancing, which required people to learn and master new choreography throughout the study, affected the biochemistry of the brain tissue in a positive way.
Study after study has shown us that dancing is great aerobic exercise. It’s good for your core, helps keep you flexible and helps with balance and helps keep your joints in smooth operating shape.
Mental Health Benefits
Dancing not only helps take care of the body, it helps take care of the soul as well. It’s a great stress reliever. Researchers believe that you can literally “dance yourself happy”! University of Derby scientists found that patients suffering from depression had significant improvement after nine weeks of dance lessons. They believe the endorphin boost from the exercise, coupled with the social interaction and concentration required to learn the steps made the difference. They also add that the increased self-confidence from learning a new skill showed added benefits to the patients.
German researchers found decreased levels of stress hormones and higher levels of testosterone in subjects after dancing with a partner. Researchers credit the extreme focus of learning dance, which interrupts negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety and depression.
Meet New People
By it’s very nature, ballroom dance is a social exercise that makes it easy to meet new people. You’ll be in a room with other people with whom you already have something in common with for one thing. Knowing that you have at least one thing to talk about can take the pressure off and make getting to know one another that much easier. Make new friends, learn a fun skill, and get exercise all at the same time. What’s not to love?
Reconnect With Your Partner
Is ballroom dancing the new “couples therapy”? According to professional dancer Tony Dovolani, it can work wonders. “It’s almost like you have a newfound love for each other,” Dovolani told Today.com. “Discovering new steps together teaches couples to interact with each other. They’re looking into each other’s eyes, anticipating the next move. It opens up energy channels of feeling and connection. It rejuvenates everything.”
Dovolani says learning to dance teaches communication skills and fosters respect. The physical activity is a great stress reliever and the positive feelings about the shared experience make couples excited to carve out alone time.
What are you waiting for? The benefits are there, but only you can take the first step. Find a Fred Astaire Dance Studio location near you. Most locations offer introductory packages to get you started.