Feeling Stressed? Dance It Off

With finals coming up, you’re probably more stressed out than ever. Countless hours at the library studying can really take its toll. Sure, practicing yoga and meditation is great to relieve stress and realign your chakras; but have you ever thought to try dancing? Dancing has some amazing health benefits like reducing stress, providing a creative outlet, and even improving brain health.

Dancing releases those feel-good endorphins your body craves. According to a 2008 article in Scientific American magazine, a neuroscientist shared that through synchronizing movement and music, the brain receives a “pleasure double play”. The reward centers in your brain are activated through the music, while dance uses motor and sensory centers. So take a study break with some music and dance around to relax and re-focus yourself.

Everyone likes to dance a little differently. Although there are many styles- you don’t have to be trained in any of them to have a good time. See what happens naturally when you let your body groove to the music. Just like when you’re sad, you might turn on a sad song to let yourself express those feelings – dance does the same thing. If you’re happy, let your body move fast and bouncy. You’ll find this is a great way to express your emotions. Bonus points if you choreograph your own moves into a dance!

Dance taps into something in your brain that other activities can’t. Did you know dance is a proven therapy for Parkinson’s patients? It can help increase your balance, gait, and coordination through following the rhythms of the music. Dancers are also less prone to dementia as they age. In a 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, they found by comparing 11 different physical activities including tennis, swimming, and golf; those that danced were at a lower risk for developing dementia. So even as you age, your brain doesn’t have to fall victim to these diseases.

You don’t have to be a seasoned professional to dance. Whether you want to check out a ballroom class, try Zumba, or just step out of your comfort zone at a party; your brain and body will thank you!

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