Dancing — that moment when your fave song comes on and you can’t help shaking your bootie and lifting your arms in the air (my classic white girl move).
Yes, dancing. Whether you’re born with natural rhythm or the toe-tap is your move, there’s something so freeing about listening to music and moving your body. Yes, some of us do that in a gym. But did you know you can burn a whole lot of calories on the dance floor too? Granted, you’ll burn more if you’re channelling a Ciara dance routine (check out this great compilation vid here) than, say, a Taylor Swift performance.
Regardless of intensity (or flexibility), moving your body feels great! Dancing is good for your heart: for the feel-good endorphin vibes and health-wise! The reverse is also true: when you’re happy, you want to dance! At least I do. FYI: I’m that dork you’ll see dancing while choosing which lettuce to buy in the Woolies.
And here’s why dancing should become a part of your life:
1. All you need is your body
And maybe a little music… But seriously, unlike running or cycling, you can be barefoot — naked, even — and work up a sweat dancing in your living room.
2. Studies say dancing improves memory
What? For reals? Okay, here’s the deal: we know that as we age, our cognitive abilities become impaired (terrifying, we know). And you need to exercise your brain as much as your body. Memory is something we should practise. Instead of playing the dice game at home by yourself, learning dance moves and choreography not only shows an increase in health, but also in memory in a study conducted by Colorado State University.
3. Dancing can help reduce injury
Imagine how you could prevent injuries if you could just “fall like a dancer”? As if, right? But actually, it’s a thing. Learning dance techniques can help you learn how to “perform” low-impact landings. But actually, here’s how it works: dancing makes you become more aware of your surroundings; it makes you more supple and increases flexibility, balance and coordination.
4. You can dance at any age
Much like with yoga, you can start and continue dancing until any age. The type of dancing or intensity level may change, but you can keep your body jiving for years to come.
5. Dancing helps improve mood
“Dancing makes you feel good, because it makes you feel alive,” said psychologist Dr Peter Lovatt of the University of Hertfordshire in an interview once. A study published in The Arts In Psychology showed that dancing has a great impact on mood regardless of gender, ethnicity or diagnosis. Another study conducted on older women showed that dancing improved physical fitness and overall life satisfaction.
6. Dance fitness has been rising in popularity
We all know Zumba, but there are soooo many other dance-based fitness workouts available now and we are loving it! Check out this awesome 15-minute dance workout routine by Toka — our 2019 #WHNextFitStar finalist. Dancing is also a really great way to tone up and improve cardio while not even thinking about it! Yes, the music and dance moves will distract you from the actual burn of your thighs. Check out this great cardio dance routine by dance fitness instructor, Botle, another one of our #WHNextFitStar finalists.
7. Dancing is good for body positivity
Just ask our #WHNextFitStar Top 10 finallist, Takkies, who is a dance instructor and founder of RockingNHeels, about how she uses dance to help empower women and increase body positivity. “Love your beautiful body,” Takkies says, as she instructs you to feel your thighs as you dance. Through the motion of dance, interacting with and embracing your body builds connection, love and acceptance. Dancing is a way to express yourself and anyone — no matter your age or size — can do it.
8. Shaking your bootie burns calories
Have you ever had one of those nights where you head out with the sole (soul?) intention to dance for hours? I did this festive season. I went to a show where one of my favourite female (and South African) DJs performed and I danced for hours. Let’s just pause as the world-famous-female-South-African DJ Nora en Pure performed amidst other DJs at The Grand and we danced for about four hours pretty much continuously. A person weighing 70kg on average burns 7 calories per minute of dancing. And a person who weighs 55kg only burns about 5.5 calories per minute. I weigh about 60kg, so let’s work on an average of 6 calories per minute. So that’s nearly 1 500 calories burned having a great time.
Check out her spotify list of songs here. Also great beats for running FYI.
Also click play to instantly get a feel-good song listen here: