From the time we come into this world, our minds start working to help our bodies move. It is a natural thing to hear music and instantly want to sway or tap. It creates a feeling of bliss and can bring all sorts of emotions out of us. It is a very individualized experience. As leaders, mothers, and wives; we need a way to calm the chaos. Dance can give us just that. Not only does it calm down the chaos, but it is also incredibly beneficial for your cognitive and physical health.
Dancing has been proven to enhance neuroplasty (reducing dementia), improve physical performance (such as balance, posture, strength and cardiovascular health), and improve emotional health (by reducing stress and anxiety and allowing you to feel connected to a community) .
To dive deeper into the topic of dance, we reached out to an expert. Beth Pargas is a dancer and choreographer. She is currently an instructor at Lifetime Fitness in Scottsdale. She teaches Barre, Mixxedfit, Warrior Sculpt, and even classes for kids. I am now going to pass it over to Beth and she is going to tell us more of why Dance is important and what it means to her.
Our bodies are made to MOVE. To explore our relationship in space. Sometimes slow and graceful other times abruptly and with force. For centuries humans have moved their bodies for work, for necessity, survival and even for pure enjoyment. I fell in love with movement specifically dance at a young age. Fast forward 34 years and I am still on the dance floor at least 3 times a week. As a culture, our mindset on the importance of dance has shifted but one thing remains… those feelings you experience while dancing alone (or as a group) is like no other.
To move freely is a true gift. The body enjoys it. It can be meditative for the mind or like a physical rubix cube. Either way dancing produces endorphins and lifts spirits. New scientific research states the more you work your brain the more cell development you have thus a bigger hippocampus, resulting in protection against memory loss and cognitive decline. Do a happy dance for that!
Dance also promotes connection. Connecting the brain to the body: the right and left sides of the body and the upper body to the lower. Making those connections are often not found as important until you discover yourself being challenged both mentally and physically and you realize that just like any muscle you must work the brain/body connection. Dance requires: discipline, coordination, flexibility, good posture, strong muscles, memorization all the while controlling your breathing. Young, old, professional or only in your kitchen dancers come in all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds which is another reason I am drawn to it. Dance, and the music we dance to, builds connection with others; a community. As we age, well actually at any age, that feeling of belonging to a community is invaluable. Especially a community that prides itself on the willingness to accept you exactly as you are flaws, strengths & everything in between.
The world we live in is face paced and becoming more and more technology driven but still we crave authentic connection to others and a community that is irreplaceable by any app, website or kiosk. It is for this reason I think dancers stay young and stay movers for their entire life. Lives filled with friendships, optimism and joy as a result of the love for dance. I am planning to dance for lifetime enjoying every step and connection along the way.