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If you’ve ever boogied along to the music on your car radio or joined the crowd at a club or live music event, you know that dancing can be a lot of fun. But did you know it can actually be a great way to improve your physical and mental health? Keep reading to learn about the benefits of dancing like no one’s watching.

How Can Dance Improve Your Physical Health?

When you move your body for any reason, a number of things happen. Your heart works harder, your blood moves faster, and you start burning calories. This is what makes dancing a great choice for anyone interested in losing weight. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that aerobic dancing is just as effective as cycling or jogging when it comes to losing weight. All that movement can help you drop extra pounds, and as an added bonus, dancing can be enough fun to keep you coming back for more.

Dancing can be a particularly effective tool in supporting healthy aging. You have to move fast while dancing, which helps to improve your balance and coordination. Regular dance breaks can also help increase your energy and improve your flexibility, both of which are important components of healthy aging.

How Can Dance Improve Your Mental Health?

In 2003, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that frequent dancing can reduce your risk of dementia more effectively than any other activity, including reading, doing crossword puzzles, and playing golf. Dancing helps to improve mental acuity because it forces you to make a series of split-second decisions. Do you move left or right, forward or back, up or down? Each time your brain makes one of these decisions, you’re helping to create new neural pathways, which helps reduce your risk of dementia.

Dancers of all ages can also reap the social benefits of dancing. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with cutting a rug alone in your bedroom, in most cases dancing is something you do with a group of other people. Joining a dance class is a great way to form new relationships, and going out for a night of dancing is a fun way to maintain old ones. Taking time out to enjoy a period of movement and music with people you care for can help increase happiness and reduce depression and stress.

Is Dancing the Right Medicine for You?

Is dancing the “magic pill” you need to live a happier, healthier life? It could be! Before you hit the dance floor, though, it’s important to check in with your healthcare provider, particularly if you haven’t been physically active for a while or if you have any type of medical condition. Your chiropractor can help you approach dancing in a way that’s beneficial for your body. This is especially important if you suffer from chronic back pain or have any injuries you need to nurse.

Whether it’s a tango, the Charleston, square dancing, or the Macarena, dancing is a fun and healthy way to get moving. So go ahead, kick up your heels: your mind and your body will be glad you did.

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