The great benefits of dance for kids and adults

My Magazine 2022/05
4 min
Author: Raffa Ndeti
There’s something about grooving to the sound of music that seems to take all of our cares away. Whether you’re old or young, engaging in physical activities that involve dance changes you.

One of the most incredible things about dance is that anyone can participate. If you can move, even if it’s only your upper body, you can dance. People having medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, arthritis, and heart disease and disabled people in wheelchairs can also participate in dancing. 

The physical, mental, and emotional health benefits of dancing are endless.

  • Gentle on your body: Unlike high-impact exercises like running, dancing is gentle on your body. It can also improve flexibility, easing joint pain and alleviating post-exercise soreness. 
  • Loss of Weight: A study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that an exercise program of dance training is just as helpful for losing weight as cycling and jogging.
  • Improves cardiovascular health: Dance is an excellent activity for those at risk for cardiovascular disease. An Italian study noted that people with heart failure who took up waltzing improved their heart health, breathing, and quality of life significantly compared to those who biked or walked on a treadmill for exercise
  • Improves balance and strength:  Dancing can improve your muscle tone, strength, endurance, and fitness. It also increases flexibility, reduces stiffness, and increases your flexibility, which will help ease joint pain and post-exercise soreness.
  • Boosts cognitive performance: Scientists have found that the areas of the brain that control memory and skills, such as planning and organising, improve with exercises like a dance. 
  • Challenges your brain: Dancing also involves multitasking due to the need to perform dance steps in time to the music while navigating the dance floor. Science reveals that dance can reverse volume loss in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory. The hippocampus naturally shrinks during late adulthood, which often leads to impaired memory and sometimes dementia. Regular dancing reduced the risk of dementia by 76%, twice as much as reading!
  • Boost your mood and reduce stress: Dancing raises levels of the happy hormone serotonin and helps lower stress. This is a major health benefit given the incredible pressures we live under today. In a controlled study in the Journal of Applied Gerontology, researchers found that partner dance and musical accompaniment can help stress relief.

Benefits for children:  

Dance classes can help your child develop work and learning skills that will help set up your child for success for their entire life.

Movement and rhythm come naturally to kids, and when you get a child involved in regular dance classes, the benefits only get better. Dance allows kids to get their energy out. It is also an excellent way for them to express themselves.

  • Gives them joy: Dance allows children to stay active in a fun and exciting way, all while developing important social and emotional skills.
  • Increases flexibility: It can increase your child’s flexibility, range of motion, physical strength, and stamina.
  • Boosts self-esteem:  When your child experiences the joy of dancing, they learn about expressing themselves in a way that’s beneficial to their physical and mental health. This expression provides a structured outlet for a healthy physical and emotional release that helps develop emotional maturity. By giving children the freedom to channel their emotions and energies in a safe environment, their self-esteem and confidence will increase significantly.
  • Learning discipline:  It helps kids learn discipline because they have to memorise and execute specific steps and body movements that require practice and perseverance. 

The amazing benefits of a couple of dance sessions: 

  • It breaks up a monotonous week: Dancing is an exciting and fun thing to do! Meeting up for class will help keep your relationship from feeling boring and mundane. It is an experience that just the two of you will share: No kids. No friends. No family. Just you! Alone time is crucial in any relationship and can certainly be hard to come by! Dancing will force you to make time for just the two of you. 
  • It increases happiness: Dancing makes people happier in life. It is a great stress reliever and makes people light-headed. 
  • It forces you to embrace: The power of touch is so important. It’s an integral part of every relationship. As you embrace one another on the dance floor, you’ll feel closer.
  • Achieving goals together fuels attraction within a couple. Acquiring a new skill together is hot! When taking dance lessons, you get to improve your dance skills with your partner, which you can practice together at home or when you go out social dancing. Seeing each other make progress and achieve dance milestones over time makes you even more attractive in one another’s eyes.

Photo Credit: Raffa Ndeti

How to start:

Check out YouTube and start your training. Or join a class at Joy space, Yoga studio Kotu. There are different dance classes and styles for kids and adults available. 

Experience a new activity together with your partner. Book your private Latin dance course, where you learn how to dance Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raffa Ndeti
Yoga and dance instructor
My name is Raffa Ndeti (Raphaela). I am living in the Gambia for over 25 years, and have been working as a teacher for gymnastics and dance in the Gambia. I have been in touch with different kinds of sports since my early childhood. As my parents have been active in Yoga, Martial arts, Dance, and more, they let me train gymnastics, acrobatic, and ballet as soon as it was possible. I always went on with my training. I participated in training courses for different Yoga styles, meditation, pranic healing, nutritional counselling, NLP, and any types of dance and sports. At my yoga studio at Kotu, I offer different kinds of sports and dance for adults and children. To make yoga attractive for all Muslim women, who come to my studio, I have developed a yoga style, that combines different types of yoga without being spiritual. Yearly additional training and workshops in Europe allowed me to constantly expand my repertoire. I am now using my experience to accompany women and children on their way to a happy and healthy life.

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