Can you really dance your way to happiness? Research suggests that rhythmic movement can actually improve your health and bring you feelings of joy. Today, we’re taking a look at dancing your way to more joy in your life and improved overall health.
Yes, even for you flappers and gyrators whose dance looks a bit like having some sort of fit. It’s ok! Rhythmic movement is more about how it feels than how you look while doing it.
Health and Wellness Benefits of Experiencing Joy
Dance movement therapy is the idea of moving your body to music in a way that pleases you for the purpose of raising positive feelings like peacefulness and joy. But it has surprising benefits to your health and mental wellness.
For one, there’s the effect of music, itself, on our mind and body. It’s well-known and accepted in the medical community that music inflections, crescendos and decrescendos, tone, etc. have an effect on our heart rate, emotional response, our sleep quality, and overall quality of life. Music, therefore, is a source of energy for us.
But when you begin to move your body to the music, this can amplify those positive feelings, and some might agree feels quite magical. You feel energized and full of positivity, feeling those stresses seem to float away with the movements of your limbs, carried off by the notes of the music. It’s a form of self-psychology that you can use when you please, both at home, out in nature, or even with others as part of a class or dance event.
Some type of rhythmic movement, or dancing, helps many people to elevate their joy and feel more alive. But what about real health benefits for all this amplified joy through dance? We know it feels good, but how can it affect our overall health?
Benefits of Dancing for Your Health
- Higher positive feelings and emotions: joy, peace, laughter, smiling, generally feeling happy
- Evokes a sense of pleasure that you feel throughout your body
- Stimulates your brain — Provokes feel-good hormones, endorphins, and neurotransmitters like dopamine
- May relieve symptoms of depression
- Helps you release stress and pent-up physical and emotional anxiety or tension
- If you dance in the company of others, then dance can also have social benefits, as well.
- May improve the quality of life for people that suffer from chronic or serious illnesses like Parkinson’s disease
- Strengthens your muscles and bones
- Can even make you feel as if you are in a meditative state – which is great for your overall feelings of wellness and calm
Developing Your Own Dance Practice
Before you throw yourself into a dance-a-thon, get prepared. This may require preparing a safe space for your movements or getting dressed into comfortable clothing or shoes. You may dance barefoot. You may need to wear supportive or protective shoes. We’ll let you decide what’s best for your body and what’s most safe. (But, it sure does feel good to dance barefoot. Try a little grounding with your dance!)
Set aside a glass of water in case you get thirsty while you dance. Any type of aerobic exercise can make you feel thirsty as your body needs hydration for healthy movement and exertion.
Begin with a warm-up of your muscles, especially if you have areas of your body that are stiff or ill-prepared for sudden bursts of movement. You can start off by stretching your major muscle groups or with gentle swaying movements to warm up to the music, if you wish. Then, as you feel more limber, release even further into the movements and/or pick up the pace.
If you are concerned about an injury or that dancing may not be the best movement for you due to your health, work with your doctor or physical therapist for some guidance.
Pro tip: Did you know that CBD may help your body feel more relaxed? Up your dance therapy with a CBD regimen that’s right for you.
Dance When the Mood Hits You
If you feel like dancing – then dance! Like the saying goes “Dance like no one’s watching.” This means closing your eyes or simply finding your “zone” and letting the music dictate your movements. There’s no need to be graceful, only that you move in a way that feels like love and joy.
Dance for a Mood-Boosting Start to Your Day
Self-expression through dance is as easy as turning on a favorite song every morning and allowing your body to move to the music. This can kickstart your morning with an elevated mood while releasing the negative energies related to stress. Loosen up your muscles and limbs to shake off the morning stiffness and use dance as a meditation to start your day. Dance is a way to practice self-love and celebrate your own life. What better way is there to begin your day?
Take a Dance Class!
Connect to other like-minded dance enthusiasts by taking a class. Some gym facilities and YMCA branches hold dance classes as a form of exercise. Dancing with others can increase your feelings of belonging, of acceptance, and of being a part of your community. YOu may find dance classes of all types in your area, like:
- Salsa dancing
- Swing dancing
- Line dancing
- Ballet or ballroom dance
- Belly dance
Dance for Exercise
Because dance is fun you may find that this is a more sustainable practice than other forms of exercise you’ve tried in the past. Exercising methods that you enjoy can provide even more long-term health benefits for you, more than a few bursts of dancing energy on a Saturday afternoon – but both are important.
Long-term health benefits will improve your quality of life, but so will those few minutes of Saturday dancing, which bring you joy and release feel-good hormones to energize and elevate your mood.
Dancing for Weight Management
Similar to using dance as a form of exercise, it can also be a great way to manage your weight. A healthy weight is more about what you look like, but also about your overall health and mobility. Even if you have a long way to go on your weight loss journey, dancing is a low-impact way to get your whole body involved with movement. If you have mobility issues that prevent you from standing, you can still perform dance-like movements from right where you sit.
Dance with Your Partner
Partner dancing is a great way to connect on a deeper level with your partner. Take a couples dancing class, learn a new routine, or attend local dances to show off your new moves. Dance Passion of Florida reports that many couples are taking up dance classes to improve their intimacy within their relationship, saying that “partner dancing directly reflects the steps needed to strengthen good relationships and heal difficult ones.” So, grab your dancing shoes and your partner and turn that dance floor into an opportunity for deeper love and commitment.
Dance Is Joy-Through-Connection
When you connect mind, body, and spirit through rhythmic movement, you may find that it’s rather addicting — in a good way. This means that you are developing a closer relationship with your own self, with your natural surroundings, and with your own human experience. Feeling those connections, intermingled with those feelings of joyful release, can develop into a regular routine of dancing a little each day. Start slow, remember to warm up your body with some gentle stretches, and get your dance playlist together. Before you know it, you’ll dance your way right into better health, too!
If you’d like to learn more about dance therapy or other holistic approaches to full-body and mind wellness, stay tuned to Asé Pure Naturals blog where we share our knowledge of CBD and other wellness tips with our readers. And if your dancing feet are a little sore, grab a roller of this stuff to get some immediate relief. (We’ve got your back, and your dancing feet.)