Life

Dancing Isn't Just For Fun — It Can Improve Your Psychological Wellbeing

Dance like no one's watching.
WERK.
WERK.

Welcome to HuffPost Canada’s (almost) daily guide to helping you pick up an easy, everyday ritual that can make your life a bit better, in a small but significant way.

Canadians are stressed out, anxious, and are feeling disconnected from each other. Every Monday through Friday, we’ll share a tiny tip to help you feel good. We’ve got your back.

Today’s habit: Get up and dance!

For whenever you’re feeling: Excited; like you need to move your body; like you need a break from work.

What it is: You don’t have to be a good dancer, so take a minute or two out of your day to get out of your head and make your personal space your dance floor.

How it can help: Because I’m not in my early 20s I don’t hit up “da club” anymore, which means I rarely find the opportunity to dance. Basically, the only time I dance in public is at weddings, at work holiday parties ... and that’s it.

But sometimes a gal or fella just needs to move, ya know? Maybe you’ve been staring at your computer screen at work, or you’ve been chasing after a toddler all day, or you’ve been standing still on your feet for hours.

However you spend your days, taking a little dance break can be super beneficial, and fun to boot. Here are some ways dancing can be great for your mind and body.

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Easy Tips To Help Lift Your Mood

1. Dancing keeps you healthy

This seems pretty obvious, but did you know that dancing can reduce the risk of dementia and disability if you do it consistently? We knew there was a reason we dance to Beyoncé at home!

A paper published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found that women who frequently danced had a 73 per cent lower chance of becoming disabled during the period they were studied compared to women who didn’t.

“Dancing requires not only balance, strength, and endurance ability, but also cognitive ability: adaptability and concentration to move according to the music and partner, artistry for graceful and fluid motion, and memory for choreography,” the researchers noted.

And another paper, which noted that there is currently no way to prevent or reverse dementia and cognitive decline, did conclude that aging adults who danced every week could improve their global cognition (a measure of general cognitive function).

2. Dancing improves your mood

This also seems obvious, but science backs it up. A 2007 study found that hip hop dancing improved energy, boosted mood, and lowered stress.

“Movement and dance are extremely expressive, which can allow you to escape and let loose,” Jonathan Tylicki, a professional dancer, told Healthline. Dancing can decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, boost your self-esteem, and improve psychological wellbeing.

3. Dancing can improve your social connections

We get it if you want to bust a move in the comfort of your own home, where only your dog can watch you, but sometimes it’s fun to take your dance moves to the streets. And by the streets, we mean a dance studio.

Taking a dance class with likeminded people (bring a friend if you’re intimidated about going alone) is great for your social and emotional health. Not only do you interact with new people every week, but being around people, while engaging in physical activity, can make you feel less lonely, and is a great way to make friends.

Where you can do it: Anywhere your twinkle toes desire. Do a jig in your living room; practice ballet stretches in the office kitchen; blast Whitney Houston and dance like nobody is watching at your desk — people may even join in.

Or, if you’re really interested in becoming a better dancer, find a dance studio near you and try different styles of dance to figure out which one is best suited for you.

The Pink Studio in Toronto for example, offers classes of all levels such as “Beginner Beyoncé,” “Bollywood Fusion,” and "’90s Hip Hop.”

How it makes us feel: Dancing makes us feel more alive, more attractive, and more confident.

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And that’s your tip of the day.

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