Hey guys – it’s a new year and I know many of you have decided to make some changes to improve your health and well-being. I bet you didn’t know that one of the best ways to improve both is by kicking up your heels and dancing! Dancing has always been a healthy activity for men and women alike, but has some special health benefits for men. Let me tell you about them…
Men – Boost Your Health Dancing
A lot of guys think they were born with 2 left feet and feel about as graceful as a bull in a china shop on the dance floor. You don’t have to be a Fred Astaire dance school graduate to reap the many health benefits of dancing which include:
- Stress relief, improved mood: An old song, Dancing in the Moonlight, has words that say, “You can’t dance and stay uptight”. . It’s true. Functioning in a socially interactive group of people once or twice a week, or even doing Zumba routines in your living room, has been shown to reduce stress, depression, and increase endorphins (feel good brain chemicals) that brighten mood.
- Brain-stimulating: Any time you learn new information, you give your entire brain a workout. Listening to music and moving your body simultaneously requires using different areas of your brain at the same time. According to a study in the journal Heart, this kind of dual activity, listening to music, and making snap decisions like those required during dancing, really fires up the neurons in your entire brain. It helps sharpen cognitive skills and output. The result is an overall energizing effect on your mood and physical well-being.
- Fitness training: Dancing is one of the best calorie burning, muscle strengthening, toning, and balancing exercises around. Studies show that you can burn between 500-700 calories per hour, depending on your size, and level of fitness. In comparison, an hour on a gym treadmill burns about 400-500, and can be tedious and boring. Try fun, action oriented Zumba or Hip-Hop dancing at your local recreation center. You can even buy DVD’s to do in your own home, but dancing in a group is a lot more fun. Even ballroom dancing, Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers style, is making a big comeback.
- Disease prevention: Recent studies out of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes have shown dancing to have the following disease-prevention benefits: Fights heart disease by decreasing blood pressure and maintaining a normal weight; fights diabetes by normalizing blood sugar levels and controlling weight; strengthens bones and joints, preventing osteoporosis. Reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Now, if you were to take professional dance lessons and improve your moves, you could add even more psychosocial health benefits like:
- Confidence: Feeling more confident about the way your body is moving on the dance floor can really boost your self-esteem and quite possibly your love life. In a recent study, out of Germany’s University of Gottingen, women found men who can dance to be more confident, outgoing, and social. They found men who could not or didn’t want to dance tense and socially withdrawn.
- Aphrodisiac to women: Did you know that most women want a man who can dance? That’s the conclusion of the same German study noted above. Women rated men who can dance as more physically attractive and masculine. The women were more “turned on” by men who are able to confidently move faster during dancing – being impressed by bending and twisting movements of the head, neck, torso, and knees. They were turned off by men who made slow and small movements, or repeated moves. Take a look at concert videos of the best male rock singers, Mick Jagger, David Lee Roth, Stephen Tyler, or even the late great Elvis, and watch their fast, twisting, turning, snake-like dance moves – any wonder why women find these guys so attractive?
- Improves relationships: Dancing encourages couples to interact with each other on a more intimate level of communication and trust, say psychologists. It also enhances feelings of connection to each other through touch, stimulating, or rekindling, feelings of sexual attraction to each other. Dancing also allows couples to give each other the chance to alternate leading and following which translates to healthier relationships off the dance floor. It helps each other gain more confidence and respect in each other’s decisions and being able to depend on one another.
Whether you grab your partner, go with friends to a nightclub, take a class, or would rather just put in a few DVD’s and hit the floor in your living room, dancing can really help you improve your physical, mental and social health.
Whichever way you want to dance, I strongly encourage you to just do it. You’ll be amazed at how fast it can elevate your mood and confidence and actually make you want to go dance the night away in public.
It’s a new year – try something new! Your brain as well as your heart, and possibly even your love life, will thank you for adding something so fun and health promoting as dancing to your life!
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Natural Health News
Music For Your Good Health, http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/10/12/new-study-confirms-it-music-is-a-must-for-your-good-health–and-your-brain.htm
The Sexy Skills She Can’t Resist, http://news.menshealth.com/what-women-notice-at-the-club/2012/04/28/
5 Fun Facts About Dancing Health Benefits, http://www.buddytv.com/articles/dancing-with-the-stars/5-fun-facts-about-dances-healt-35765.aspx
Dancing and Men’s Health, http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/essential_health_tips/Dr_Oz_Tip_22.php#ixzz2H1AQGj4k