On the 9th day of Christmas my true love said to me.....
Dancing is one of my greatest joys in life. As a child I studied ballet, tap and modern and as an adult I was privileged to teach dance for many years. When I met my husband we used to attend a ballroom dancing class and we also went to ceilidh dancing when we lived in Caithness. As everyone knows, I'm never happier than when I'm dancing.
The advantage of dancing from a health point of view is that it's truly the most wonderful exercise for mind, body and spirit! The body part we know about because we use our whole bodies, muscles and joints and cardiovascular system too. But the absolute joy we get from feeling every note of the music and expressing the beat and the emotion and the meaning in every phrase takes us into the spiritual realm, where we can forget ourselves and our worries as the music delivers us into another dimension.
The brain is also well and truly exercised when we dance as we have to remember the steps and the sequence and keep to the rhythm. Unsurprisingly, studies have shown that learning the steps to specific dance routines will increase brain function and improve memory. There is therefore great interest in encouraging dance in the elderly in various community settings for the obvious benefits of movement and balance, but also motor function and memory. One very interesting study found benefits across movement, balance and gait in people living with Parkinson's disease. What I love most about this study is that participants were randomly assigned to the Argentine Tango! How wonderful! In the words of Craig Revel Horwood....Fab-u-lous!!
The other great thing about dancing is that we don't have to go out in the cold or join expensive gyms! We just have to clear a space, turn up our favourite tunes and go for it!! The amazing thing is that in clearing such a space for our bodies to move safely, I believe we clear a space for our emotions too as we engage in what I believe to be the best form of movement, DANCE.
'Dance enables you to find yourself and lose yourself at the same time.'
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