So, dance therapy. There’s some crazy claims out there about dance therapy, from curing cancer, to eating disorders, to stopping childhood obesity in its tracks, and much more that seems pretty far fetched. But what does dancing really do for you? What real and tangible benefits can this strange form of “therapy” bring? Well, I’m here to tell you the six real reasons why you should try dance therapy!

Here’s a dance therapy recap for anyone who hasn’t read my more critical article on dance therapy and its supposed results: Dance/movement therapy in the United States is the “psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance to support the intellectual, emotional, and motor functions of the body. As a form of expressive therapy, it looks at the correlation between movement and emotion”. This form of “therapy” doesn’t limit itself to just busting moves like you’re out on the dance floor. It can range from more yoga-like movements to all out jamming in your bedroom with the shades closed (tightly).

So, what can dancing actually do for your health, if anything? Get jamming, because we’re about to talk dancing!

1: Weight Loss

The consistent movement of dancing activates multiple muscle groups at the same time, helping to tone your entire body while you groove. A study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that an exercise program of aerobic dance training is “just as effective as jogging or cycling in order to improve body composition and aerobic strength.”

That’s a pretty good reason to go out dancing (or make an excuse to skip the girls night and dance alone in your pjs!) There is also a correlation to getting healthier and making better eating choices, though this one is less factually backed. Once you start losing weight, many people see the good path they’re starting on and opt to make healthier food choices to continue the weight loss.

2: Reduce Stress

When you’re dancing, your body is fully in that moment, focused on the beat of the music, where your body is moving, and what it’s going to do next. Being fully engulfed in what you’re doing (especially a feel-good activity like dancing) reduces the amount of cortisol your brain produces (the hormone associated with stress), effectively lowering your stress and tension levels.

Next time you’re out dancing, take a minute to see if you feel a bit more relaxed (even if the drinks you’re having with friends helps a bit more than the dancing). Dancing, and exercise in general really, helps get your mind off things and allows you to stay in the present for a bit. This is a great stress reliever in and of itself, as getting your mind off things for a while is sometimes all you need to help work through problems and feel a bit better about a stressful situation.

3: Heart (and Lung) Healthy!

Dancing is great cardiovascular exercise. As you continue to dance your strength and stamina will increase. Your heart rate will stay steady longer and you won’t get that awful feeling of being out of breath right as you start. Just like any exercise, dancing increases your stamina as you do it more and more frequently. But the benefit is that dancing is about a hundred times more fun than jogging a track or running around the edge of your backyard!

Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in the nation for men and women. However, your heart becomes more efficient with exercise. When you exercise, your muscles help to circulate blood through the body taking some of the strain and effort off the heart. Not as much work is needed to pump blood and the heart becomes stronger over a period of time.

As you begin frequently exercising, your heart will contract faster and circulation will increase, which gets oxygenated blood to your muscles quicker. Overtime, this will become easier and easier, and the strain on your heart will be greatly reduced.

4: Fix That Posture!

Get ready ballerinas! As you learn each dance movement and begin to gain increased flexibility and strength, your posture, balance and spatial awareness will naturally begin to improve. Correcting your posture naturally is great for back, shoulder, and neck pain, and you’ll look better for it too!

Some of the scammy new methods for correcting your posture actually have some adverse side effects. Things like corsets, posture bands, waist trainers, back braces etc- are actually not the best way to go, as they take the job away from the muscles in your abdomen and back that are supposed to be doing it. These methods can weaken your abdomen muscles over time and cause more harm than good! Instead, work on your abdominal strength and your posture is sure to increase over time!

5: Increase Your Flexibility

Stretching before any exercise is a good move (you don’t want to pull a muscle now do you?). As you increase the amount or frequency of your dancing, you should be increasing your frequency of stretching as well. Over time, the stretches will become easier and easier to complete, and your flexibility will greatly improve, allowing you to go deeper into stretches, and try some more advanced moves.

Flexibility can help you prevent injuries and be able to withstand more physical stress, cause you less pain while moving and exercising, help your joints move through their full range of motion, improve your posture and balance, put you in a positive state of mind, and improve your overall physical performance.

As always, thank you so much for reading, and let me know if you try dance therapy, and your experience with it!

Check out my list of more cynical opinions on dance therapy here

Check out our podcast Better Off Better to hear us struggle with trying dance therapy

Check out the author of this post Jenny Whipple

Check out our Youtube channel for video podcasts and other comedy stuff

Thank you for reading: “Six REAL Reasons Why You Should Try Dance Therapy”