AtoZ Holistic Self-care: D is for Dance

As a tween and teen, I LOVED to dance. I could dance to all kinds of music, with all kinds of people, in all kinds of places. Dancing was part of me. I wasn’t necessarily good at it – but I have some basic rhythm. We did the bump, the hustle, the slide. Soul Train and American Bandstand were favorites.

Then, I entered the convent and all dancing stopped.

After leaving the convent, it took a little while for me to feel totally comfortable – but I began to love dancing again. Nothing like a night out on the dance floor. Then, quickly, along came marriage and children – and dancing became more homebound.

When my children were little, I would hold dance parties in the living room. But, alas, my children didn’t fall in love with dancing (or roller skating or ice skating).

Now, I’m not one to go out dancing – I would rather avoid the expense and the drunken fools often found in clubs, etc.

But housecleaning happens twice as fast when I blare music throughout the house (or in my iPod if others are home) and sweep, scrub, and fold to the beat. And I often grab 2 or 5-lb. weights and an aerobic step, turn on my workout playlist and dance around the room with no set routine – just following how the music moves me. And I look forward to the ocassional wedding or fundraising event that promises an opportunity to dance.

Body: Dancing is exercise.

Dancing certainly burns calories and gets the heart pumping!

Mind: Dancing is mind-altering.

If you’ve watched earlier episodes of Grey’s Anatomy you’ll recall the dance-offs of Meredith and Yang. In the new tv show The Village the main character and her daughter (haven’t quite caught their names) have dance-offs. Dance relieves stress and helps you forget your troubles. On top of that, when you return to your ‘problems,’ you’ll likely have a fresh look and new ideas for dealing with them.

According to an article in Psychology Today, which I pulled up to provide a bit of authority for what I know experientially, “proteins are produced within brain cells that spur the growth of new neurons and new cell connections, literally making minds more supple.”

Spirit: Dancing increases happiness and sparks empathy.

We’ve all heard how physical activity release endorphins and produces a ‘high’ or ‘euphoria.’

“As a general rule, moving to music activates the brain’s pleasure circuits. ‘On a physiological and psychological level, humans like order and form, and the rhythm of dancing to music provides that satisfactory patterning.’ “

Did you know too, that dancing promotes empathy – even just watching someone else dance?

“MRI scans show that watching someone dance activates the same neurons that would fire if you yourself were doing the moves. So when one dancer’s movement expresses joy or sadness, others often get to experience it as well, spreading feelings and fostering empathy.”

How about you? Do you dance?

16 comments

  1. I do not dance enough. I also do not listen to music enough….a correlation perhaps. However, I love my weekly Zumba class! It is liberating and stress relieving…. nice to know I’m making my brain more supple with it as well.

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  2. Hi Janet,

    I’ve always loved to dance. I used to do dance aerobics for years, then got interested in belly dance.

    Unfortunately my favourite dance teacher moved away and I didn’t like my options after that, so stopped doing it. But I have some belly dance videos that I pop in from time to time. I tie on one of my old hip scarves, dripping in coins, and away I go. I love belly dance because of its ancient origins – as a dance for women by women. Not sure how it became something for men to leer at, except that they usually horn in on all our good stuff…sigh!

    Now I just dance to the radio, mostly…

    Deb

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    • Deb – I’ve never belly-danced. I can’t seem to make my hips jiggle. Interesting that it is for women by women. I didn’t know that. Glad you find some opportunity to dance though! Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow – I am impressed – a dance studio?! As I said, I have a sense of rythym but I’ve never learned formal dance. I hope your grandchildren enjoy dancing more than my children did. Thanks for joining the conversation!

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  3. I do love to dance … in private. Recently, I started to find YouTube videos that offer dance routines for seniors. I haven’t tried it yet … but you’ve convinced me I need to give it a go. I may look foolish, but I know I will have fun.

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  4. I fall into the category of ‘dance only when others aren’t watching’. It seems that I never developed any natural rhythm however I’m very curious about Molly Totoro’s comment about videos for seniors. I’ve read that dancing is very good for us as we age. It’s not only the exercise component, but also the brain stimulation to learn and remember dance steps. Although you will never find me in a Zumba class (been there, tried that, still blushing with embarrassment at the thought), maybe there’s hope for me yet. I must check out youtube for these videos!

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    • Joanne, I thought I responded to your comment days ago but when I logged back in, I don’t see it. So — I’ll reply again. I hope that you’ve found the videos Molly suggested and that you are dancing to your heart’s content even if in the privacy of your own room.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m enjoying your A2Z posts! I used to love dancing before I married a non-dancer. I also danced round the house with our eldest but somewhere along the way I seemed to give it up. You’ve inspired me to try again.

    Liked by 1 person

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