international day of danceThe simple fact is some of us are dancers and some of us are not. For example, I love to dance, but I have to practically bribe my husband to get him on the dance floor. However, once he gets over his inhibitions and starts moving to the music, even he will admit that dancing can be pretty enjoyable. But fun is just the half of it!

To celebrate International Dance Day on April 29, below we show you how tripping the light fantastic can actually be good for you!

Feels so good

Everyone would probably agree that a rousing jitterbug or gliding smoothly across the floor to a waltz will make you feel content. But there’s actually scientific proof to back it up! When a group of people with mood disorders participated in a two-week tango instruction program, researchers found that their depression decreased, along with their anxiety and insomnia. Plus, dancing is a great way to connect with not only your partner but also others on the dance floor.

Gets your heart beating

If you’re dancing close, your heart may go pitter pat, but dancing can affect your heart in many other very positive ways too. Moderate-intensity dancing, which is similar to interval training (but a whole more fun!), has actually been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular death. When you work up a sweat, the aerobic benefit actually beats walking … by a nose.

Loosens stiff joints

Cutting a rug can be good for keeping joints in good working order and easing pain in knees and hips, which are showing wear and tear. After a three-month dance program, seniors were able to decrease their pain meds by 39 percent, plus move around more easily. With every step, dancing also challenges and strengthens your balance skills and increases your body awareness.

Keeps your brain on its toes

Obviously, hoofing it works out your body, but a regular regimen of dancing has also been found to be exceptionally good for your brain. In fact, a 21-year study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine reported that seniors who danced regularly were 76 percent less likely to develop dementia. The skull bone isn’t exactly connected to the leg bone. So, what’s the connection? First, there’s a good deal of memory involved in dancing, plus the quick decision-making that’s also required gives our neural network a pretty strenuous workout.

Share how dancing has improved your life.

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