Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

The Health Benefits of Dancing

output-onlinejpgtools (1)

Dancing is an amazing way to exercise without feeling like you’re working out.

There are many forms of dance, from ballroom to barn dancing and ballet. Dancing can be a great way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. You can dance in a group, with a partner, or on your own. There are lots of different places where you can enjoy dancing, for example, at dance schools, social venues, community halls and in your own home. Dancing has become such a popular way to be active and keep fit, that most fitness clubs now offer dance classes in their group exercise programs. It has a wide range of physical and mental benefits. Here are the top 10 health benefits to dancing:

1) Improving memory

Dance not only instills grace, but it also helps you age gracefully. According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, dancing may boost your memory and prevent you from developing dementia as you get older. Science reveals that aerobic exercise can reverse volume loss in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory. The hippocampus naturally shrinks during late adulthood, which often leads to impaired memory and sometimes dementia.

2) Improve Flexibility

Those plies and arabesques that ballet dancers practice aren’t just for aesthetics — they also increase flexibility and reduce stiffness. You can skip the ballet slippers and still reap the benefits of ballet by practicing some simple stretches at home. Increasing your flexibility will help ease joint pain and post-exercise soreness

3) Reduce Stress

If you’re feeling tense or stressed out, you might want to grab a partner and turn up the music. In a controlled study in the Journal of Applied Gerontology, researchers found that partner dance and musical accompaniment can help reduce stress.

4) Diminish Depression

Dancing really does lift your spirits, according to a study in that tested the effects of dancing on people with depression, patients who participated in an upbeat group dance showed the fewest depression symptoms and the most vitality.

5) Improve cardiovascular fitness

Like any good, low-impact cardio workout, dancing can improve cardiovascular health, increase stamina and strengthen bones and muscles. Dancing has a cardio edge with unique benefits that actually can’t be achieved by other low-impact exercises. There are five components of fitness:

– Cardiovascular endurance

– Flexibility

– Muscular endurance

– Body composition

– Muscular strength

An activity like running on the treadmill may improve cardiovascular endurance and body composition, but an activity like dancing can actually target those two as well as muscular endurance and flexibility. And that’s on top of improved balance, agility, coordination, power, reactivity and speed.

Furthermore, Dance is a great activity for those at risk for cardiovascular disease. People with heart failure who took up waltzing improved their heart health, breathing, and quality of life significantly compared to those who biked or walked on a treadmill for exercise, noted an Italian study.

6) Lose Weight

Bored with your bicycle? A study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that an exercise program of aerobic dance training is just as helpful for losing weight and increasing aerobic power as cycling and jogging.

7) Balance Better

If you are nervous about falling as you get older, some dance lessons might help ease your worries. According to a study in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, tango dancing can improve balance in aging adults. Dancing requires a lot of fast movement and good posture, so frequent dancing will help you stabilize and gain better control of your body.

8) Increase Energy

Can’t seem to find your get-up-and-go? Taking a dance class might help. Research published in The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition found that a weekly dance program could improve physical performance and increase energy levels among adults.

9) Make Friends

A dance class is the perfect setting to make new friends and branch out socially. Maintaining positive relationships rank up with healthy eating and exercise. Being socially engaged may lead to increased happiness, reduced stress, and a stronger immune system.

10) Dancing has no age limit

Everyone, no matter the age or level, has something to gain from dancing. Unlike many forms of exercise, there are no rules when it comes to dancing. Participants range from toddlers to retirees; anyone can join in and enjoy the experience, movement is good for everyone. A healthy lifestyle is integrating the mind, body and soul relationship, and dance has all of those characteristics.

Types of dance

There are many styles of dance to choose from, each with its own attractions. Popular styles of dancing include:

– Ballet – mostly performed to classical music, this dance style focuses on strength, technique and flexibility.

– Ballroom dancing – this involves a number of partner-dancing styles such as the waltz, swing, foxtrot, rumba and tango.

– Hip-hop – performed mostly to hip-hop music, this urban dance style can involve breaking, popping, locking and free styling.

– Jazz – a high-energy dance style involving kicks, leaps and turns to the beat of the music.

– Pole dancing – has become increasingly popular as a form of exercise. It involves dancing with a vertical pole, and requires muscle endurance, coordination, and upper- and lower-body strength.

– Salsa – involving a mixture of Caribbean, Latin American and African influences, salsa is usually a partner dance and emphasizes rhythms and sensuality.

– Tap dancing – focuses on timing and beats. The name originates from the tapping sounds made when the small metal plates on the dancer’s shoes touch the ground

Before you start

1) See your doctor for a check-up if you have a medical condition, are overweight, are over 40 years of age or are unfit

2) Do warm-up stretches or activities before you begin a dance session.

3) Drink plenty of water before, during and after dancing.

4) Make sure you rest between dance sessions.

5) Don’t push yourself too far or too fast, especially if you are a beginner.

6) Check with your dance instructor that you are holding the correct form.

7) Cool down after a dance session, including stretching.



Sarah Sturges

This blog post was written by Dr Sarah Sturges. She is an experienced osteopath for dancers.
You can find out more about Sarah here or book an appointment with her here .
Alternatively, you can contact the clinic on 03 9908 2844.


1. Accessed at:
2. Accessed at:

Leave a comment