Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Miraculous Health Benefits of Dance

The miraculous health benefits of dance are available to men, women and children of all ages.  Young or old, shy or outgoing, dance has something for everyone.  For some, dance begins during childhood with ballet, expressive dance or tap classes.  Teenagers enjoy moving their bodies to their favorite music during jazz, hip-hop and modern dance instruction.  Salsa, meringue, and samba lessons are increasingly popular among adults as a hobby for couples.   The popularity of ballroom dance classes among senior citizens continues to grow along with the number of retiring baby boomers.  Today's sedentary lifestyles could use a healthy dose of dance to get them up and moving, improve cardiovascular fitness, aide the development of long lean muscle, and maintain bone density.

Who can resist smiling at a two year old little girl prancing around in their very first tutu, or little boys imitating Fred Astaire in their first pair of shiny new tap shoes?  Obviously, boys and girls alike enjoy dance classes but the benefits go far beyond enjoying organized play time.  Dance lessons help active children expend energy, even some of the shyest kids light up during class.  Dance instructors make great effort to ensure that while their students are learning right from left and how to follow instructions they are enjoying the process.  Recent studies illuminate the health benefits of dance and music for children with cancer and leukemia so much so The National Children's Leukemia Foundation now sponsors dance programs for seriously ill patients.  Dance Power is a free program sponsored by the NCLF for patients undergoing treatment for cancer and leukemia and their siblings.  The Van Nuys Performing Arts Center is just one of the many professional schools hosting the Dance Power program.

Preteen years are quite possibly the most difficult and uncomfortable for children as they transition between childhood and young adults.  The stretching involved in dance has actually been shown to help ease the physical pain associated with growing, experienced by more than twenty percent of tweens.  Dancing improves posture and helps develop long lean muscles.  Preteens are often clumsy, awkward, and shy and the transition to middle school may be one of the toughest transitions during childhood, for both parents and kids. They are not really ready for the independence given teens, and they need parents to help them with this transition.  Additionally, between 16 to 33 percent of adolescents are obese.  Dance lessons are a great way to give your middle schooler time with friends, listening to music, and much needed exercise.  Whether it is hip-hop, jazz, or modern disciplines, dance helps improve coordination, self-esteem, and cardiovascular fitness.

Teenagers quite possibly may be the biggest beneficiaries of the mental and health benefits of dance lessons.  One third of fifteen year olds do not get the recommended amount of exercise.  Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States among teens and adults, and can have a serious impact on the lives of the many teens who suffer from depression.  Getting regular exercise and involvement in constructive activities will help combat depression and help manage weight.  In addition, teens associated and involved with dance instruction most often have positive goals and are encouraging and supportive of one another.  Teenagers willing to put themselves in front of an audience may find it difficult at first but soon, with a little encouragement, it will become second nature.
Stress is an epidemic in our country today.  With the ever growing demand on our time to maintain careers and family we often feel that we have no time left over to care for our own physical and mental wellbeing.  Dance schools offer classes at all hours of the day and well into the evening hours to fit into even the busiest schedules and provide a cardiovascular fitness routine that is fun, low impact, and set to great music.  Dance raises endorphins which relieves stress and decreases depression.
The benefits of dance are no secret to senior citizens, a group that have been regular participants of ballroom dance classes.  Doctors often encourage dance classes as a way to improve and maintain bone density.  As a low impact exercise that is easy on the body there are so many levels of dance that can be a regular healthy activity for senior citizens. Retired seniors often find socializing difficult leading to loneliness and depression. Group dance instruction provides the opportunity to get dressed up, get out and get moving with other retirees.
Since the beginning of time human beings have danced in celebration of the miracle of life.  Dance itself provides miraculous health benefits that doctors and scientists are just beginning to thoroughly study.  With a multitude of disciplines dance provides cardiovascular, muscular, and stress relieving benefits for people of all ages.  For information regarding dance classes or a Dance Power program near you contact the Performing Arts Center at 

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