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Do a Little Dance!

Edith Martinez | Los Angeles, CA

Happy National Dance Day everyone! In case you weren’t aware, the last Saturday of July has been National Dance Day (NDD) since 2010. That year Nigel Lythgoe (co-creator of So You Think You Can Dance and co-president of the Dizzy Feet Foundation) launched the holiday and on the first NDD, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton declared every last Saturday of July as the country’s official National Dance Day.

Perhaps there is some hesitation to participating in today’s events. We can hear them already: “Eh, I don’t really like to dance” or “I can’t dance!” Understandable. But with all of the benefits that come with dancing, we all certainly owe it to ourselves to try it out! Especially on our national holiday!

Here are a few reasons to get up and do a little dance today (and make it a habit!):

  • Let’s knock the obvious ones out the way! As we all know, aerobic exercise is good for the body. According to the Better Health and Mayo Clinic websites, cardio helps us burn fats and carbohydrates and build our stamina. Cardio every few days is a sure fire way to stay or work towards a physically healthy being! Now, dancing not only helps us burn fats and carbs, but it also increases flexibility and overall strength! From toned muscles, to strong bones, dancing covers it all!
  • In addition to improving our physical health, dancing can also have a positive effect on our mental health in a variety of ways! In an Everyday Health article, dancing is said to help reduce stress and fight depression. Studies have shown that people who dance feel less stressed or use dancing to relieve their stress. Other studies have even shown that those who actively dance show the fewest symptoms of depression.
  • Perhaps one of the most fascinating mental health benefits of dancing is the decreased chance of memory loss. In one of Richard Powers’ (full time instructor of the Stanford University’s Dance Division) articles, he touched upon a 21-year long study on senior citizens led by The Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. The elders did a variety of both mental and physical activities (reading, swimming, dancing, etc.). At the end of the study, the results showed that frequent dancing was one of the only activities that lowered the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. A small price to pay for memory retention if you ask us.
  • Let’s combine the benefits so far. At this point our energy levels are higher than ever and our fitness level is improving. We have a healthy way to keep stress at bay and lift our spirits when we’re feeling blue. Combine a healthy body and mind and we are well on our way to increasing our self confidence and self esteem. Not only that; taking up a new activity such as dancing can be intimidating to some according to Examiner’s article, Dancing increases self confidence and self esteem. Overcoming the fear and apprehension towards dancing or even towards trying something new can really work wonders for a girl’s confidence.
  • In taking up a new hobby, we open up a grand opportunity for socialization. Whether it be at a dance class or group, we get to meet new people that share the same interests and hobbies as us. Or, we meet people that were just as anxious as we were about taking up dance. These class settings are some of the best times to make friends, and all of these new healthy relationships can only add on to our euphoric feelings!

So today, get your dancing shoes on and get ready to dance the day (and night) away! Go to some of the official NDD events, create your own, or just get up and dance with your friends (or by yourself)! Events across the nation can be found here:

Events Celebrating National Dance Day

And the NDD dance can be seen and learned here:

National Dance Day: Beginner Routine Featuring Twitch

Now that you know about all the perks of dancing, there’s no reason not to! Be courageous and put your best foot forward!

Works Cited

"Aerobic Exercise: Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical." Mayo Clinic. 4 May 2014. Web. 24 July 2015. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/aerobic-exercise/art-20045541?pg=2>.

Bergland, Christopher. "Why Is Dancing So Good for Your Brain?" Psychology Today. 1 Oct. 2013. Web. 24 July 2015. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201310/why-is-dancing-so-good-your-brain>.

"Dance - Health Benefits - Better Health Channel." Better Health Channel. Web. 24 July 2015. <http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/dance_health_benefits?open>.

"Eventbrite - Host Your Events with Eventbrite." Eventbrite - Host Your Events with Eventbrite. Web. 24 July 2015. <http://eventbritepages.com/discover/nationaldanceday>.

Goldstein, Madeline. "Dancing Increases Self Confidence and Self Esteem." Examiner. 29 Apr. 2010. Web. 24 July 2015. <http://www.examiner.com/article/dancing-increases-self-confidence-and-self-esteem>.

Knight, Madeline. "9 Health Benefits of Dance." EverydayHealth. 1 July 2011. Web. 24 July 2015. <http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-pictures/health-benefits-of-dance.aspx#01>.

"National Dance Day." Dizzy Feet Foundation. Web. 24 July 2015. <http://dizzyfeetfoundation.org/national-dance-day/>.

Powers, Richard. "Dancing Makes You Smarter." Dancing Makes You Smarter. 30 July 2010. Web. 24 July 2015. <http://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/smarter.htm>.

"Richard Powers." Richard Powers. Web. 24 July 2015. <http://richardpowers.com/>.

"Why Dance?" Dance Teachers. Web. 24 July 2015. <http://www.dance-teachers.org/dance-styles/the-benefits-of-dance.aspx>.

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