Shall We Dance?

dancing, nightclub

By now, word of last Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show is out. Jennifer Lopez, 53, and Shakira, 43, brought Latin flavor to the Miami stage, and it had jaws dropping. Whether or not you were an actual fan of the performance itself (I, myself, have mixed opinions), one thing is undeniable — the two have maintained their shape impressively over the years, for any age. Could it be dancing? I’d like to think so. The low-impact aerobic activity comes with certain benefits.

Two of the biggest benefits to dancing as a workout routine is it’s great for people of all ages and it can be done anywhere. Whether you choose to sign up for a class, like ballroom dancing; grab your shoes for a big night out; or turn on the music in your own living room, if you have music and a little space you can begin to feel the rhythm.

And dancing burns calories. It sounds like a given. But, during an hour’s worth of moderate dancing, roughly 300 to 500 calories, dependent on your weight, are burned, which can aid in weight loss of a pound or more a week.

It also increases flexibility. In 2019, The National Institutes of Health monitored an elderly group for 32 weeks as the participants partook in 75-minute classes twice a week. Their studies found an improvement in leg strength, which helped in overall balance, and increased lower back/hamstring flexibility.

Your brain also lights up. The Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School used PET imaging and found parts of the brain used for motor control and planning actions are triggered during dancing, causing an overall improvement in brain health. The combined mental effort and social interaction stimulates the brain in very specific ways.

A bonus, it can boost your mood. The next time you’re entangled in negative thoughts, I strongly suggest playing your favorite song, and, whether alone or with a partner, let the music guide you. Dance your way to a healthier, happier you.

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