Partner dancing is great for your mind, body and soul...
Medical research and projects relating to the health benefits of dance have been conducted for decades. There are many reports that conclude that dancing in deed has many health benefits. Dancing may:
- facilitate better use of and increases brain function;
- can delay the onset of Alzhaimer's;
- improve balance and spatial awareness;
- better coordination, flexibility and agility;
- improve muscle tone and strength;
- promote a happier self;
- promote a general feeling of wellness and feeling good about yourself;
- increases oxygen flow through the bloodstream;
- burn kilojoules and therefore help with weight-loss and/or weight management;
- improves mental health as dance may provide balance in your life and relieve stress;
- improve the brain's serotonin levels;
- increase a sense of social well-being and enhance social skills;
- improve self confidence; and
- much more.
In 2011, Dr Dafna Merom received funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council to commence a project to investigate whether social dancing can prevent falls in older people. Dr Dafna Merom, who is an Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health and co-appointee at the University of Western Sydney describes dance as "...a complex sensory motor rhythmic activity. It also has cognitive and social dimensions. This package as a whole can simultaneously address a wide range of physiological and cognitive risk factors that contribute to falls." To read more about this research project click here and be directed to an article in the Australian Ageing Agenda published on Tuesday, 8th November 2011.
Now, we couldn't publish this article and discuss the great benefits of dance and then not talk about the risks of dance. Like anything in life, dancing too has a variety of risk factors and the body must be prepared for physical activity. Some of the risks include injury when movements are not performed correctly or even when movements are performed correctly repetitive strain injury may occur. Other risks include strains, spasms, tears, sprains, tendonitis and fatigue.
When you find the dance style for you, which we hope is Lindy Hop or Rock n Roll with LMNG it is important to:
1) Consult your GP or doctor for a check-up especially in circumstances where you have a pre-existing medical condition or injury as sometimes dancing may not be the right option for recovery;
2) Dress in appropriate clothing and shoes;
3) Secure your hair, i.e. tie long hair in a pony tail or bun;
4) Warm up by walking briskly or taking a jog around the floor or on the spot to increase heart rate and the flow of blood which will provide more oxygen to your muscles;
5) Stretch and focus on legs, hips, back, torso, shoulders, neck and arms;
6) Maintain nutritious and well balanced food choices;
7) Cool down/warm down;
8) Drink plenty of water;
9) Don't push yourself too far or too fast especially when you are just starting out and dancing for the first time;
10) If in doubt or unsure about movements and dance technique, always check and ask your dance coaches/trainers/instructors;
11) Make sure you watch new steps, listen for key tips and strategies on execution of movements/steps and then attempt at a slow rate to map out new movements before your rush into just doing new moves or steps;
12) Remember that Lindy Hop dancing and Rock 'n' Roll dancing is a partnership and understand that it takes team work. Every action the leader makes will result in a follower responding to that action/cue/signal/lead;
13) Practice, practice, practice and then remember to go out and play and support your local bands and DJ's.
If you are looking to learn a partner dance like Rock 'n' Roll and Lindy Hop then discover these forms of dancing by clicking here to our locations.
- Dancing - a good form of exercise, author Greg Hackett, http://www.yellowpages.com.au/articles/dance-tuition-and-or-venues-27936/dancing-a-good-form-of-exercise-20120820t102600n00f0023, dated 30th June 2012;
- Is dancing a way to beat Alzheimer's?, author Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT, http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=14437, dated June 2011, Vol 11 Issue 06
- Dancing - health benefits, http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Dance_health_benefits, 2013 State Government of Victoria, Reviewed April 2011
- Dance Teacher, 10 Common Dance Injuries, http://www.dance-teacher.com/2010/08/10-common-dance-injuries/ by Nancy Wozny, 12th August 2010
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