It is arguable that dance teachers are the biggest advocates for dance and its multitude of benefits, however it is also clear that this standpoint is expanding into many others' points of view too. In 2019 the NHS website published a guide to help people start dancing, and dance is now seen much more frequently in many areas of life, and with a wider spectrum of styles.
Dance – of course – has many health benefits, both physical and mental. There has been a huge shift recently to focus on mental health and wellbeing. Anyone involved in the world of dance is able to recognise that dance particularly removes them from the everyday, and the stresses that come with it. Being stressed can have a damaging effect on both the body and mind: as a result, exercise, and dance specifically, is one of the best and easiest ways to relieve stress. Chemicals are released into the brain which help control how it deals with stress.
In addition, research on exercise has also shown that aerobic workouts, i.e. dance, can help reduce feelings of anxiety. Deterioration of key parts of the brain can occur at a young age, so dancing can slow this decline down, and even reverse it. Dance, also affecting the brain's learning and memory, strengthens neurons in making them more efficient. Studies have also shown that exercising (dancing!) for just 30 minutes a few times a week can boost your overall mood.
On the physical side of dance, what better way to improve fitness than to take part in an activity that is so fulfilling, for both teacher and partaker. When you think about a dancer, physically fit, athletic, stylish and skilled might be just some of the words you might use to describe them, but ultimately, dance is for everyone. There will always be a class, a group or a style that is suitable, all with different outputs for those taking part. Some will want to dance for cardiovascular fitness, some for muscle toning, some for the social side, and others for all three. Whatever the reason, as a physical endeavour it is clear that dance can be of huge benefit to ‘every body’.