For many, dancing serves as a source of entertainment.
However, in a period where everyone is struggling with the uphill battle of pandemic and lockdown blues, dancing could feel trivial and indulgent to the masses.
Nevertheless, dancing is still necessary as it has been scientifically proven to stimulate social connections, improve our mental wellbeing, and aid us in our tough journey of weight loss.
It might be an antidote for us to get through this tough period with limited contacts and movement from the outside world.
Dancing, as trivial as it seems, makes us feel less lonely.
Research has shown that dancing in groups or at parties encourages social connections between individuals.
People tend to experience a blurring of self when dancing in synchronization with others in a group. While dancing in synchronicity with others, endorphins, hormones that are said to produce a feeling of euphoria are released, which laid the ground for social bonding effects.
Jack Devant/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
It is no doubt that dancing would be beneficial for us now. Especially when the daily routine for us has become just a mundane cycle of eating, sleeping, and working. During a time where we are constricted to facing the four walls of our home, it might get a little depressing. Let’s be honest, how many of you have complained about having your outing disrupted due to the circuit breaker? I’m sure many of you did. Including me.
Being a homebody, I do enjoy the convenience of sleeping in and not having to travel to school on a dreary Monday morning. But that does not mean I wouldn’t get bored. In fact, having been trapped at home for the past two months have turned me into a restless zombie. It makes me crave for some human interactions that I don’t usually do.
Hence, when the trend of online classes rose, I decided to set a date with my cousins to take up some dance lessons while video calling one another. And I have to admit that it did make me feel less lonely. The fun of mirroring a dance move together ( even though we couldn’t dance to save our lives ) was engaging enough that it keeps my mind occupied and my spirits high.
Amidst all the worries of drifting apart from your loved ones during this period, dancing could perhaps serve as a way for bonds to be strengthened. As simple as it seems, dancing could be a companion that leads you to the path of light amongst the ever-growing depth of darkness.
It keeps your mental health in check.
With many of us being stuck in self-isolation, it may lead us to struggle with difficulties such as insomnia, restlessness, or even mild mental health issues. As such, the importance of dancing comes into play with proven positive effects on mental health. Did you know that dancing was also used as a tool of therapeutic expression and as a form of depression reduction?
A study aimed at examining the changes in neurohormones in teenagers with mild depression has deduced a significant decrease in mental dissatisfaction after conducting a 12-week dance therapy session. (https://www.efsupit.ro/images/stories/nr3.2015/31.%20Filippou.pd f)
Dance therapies are also recommended to people who struggle from public speaking or social anxiety due to the ability of dancers able to loosen up while dancing. Research has supported the idea of dancing having a significant effect on the reduction of anxiety. (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pms.19184.108.40.206 7)
I mean look at all the dancers that are able to belt those moves in front of random strangers. How are they able to do that and not get nervous?
A 2007 study has also found that engaging in hip hop dances correlates to the lowered level of stress, in addition to being a mood booster. (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pms.104.4.1265-127 0)
It is even used as a tool by healthcare workers to improve the mood of recovering patients. (https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/coronavirus-dance-and-exercise-sessio n s-at-expo-help-improve-health-and-mood-of)
It simply proves that dance, with all its benefits, could keep us sane during this period. Getting into dance might provide a more positive well being for us. We could also see how the role of dance has played an important part in being a mood booster and providing therapeutic effects on individuals. With the world experiencing a downward spiral of disasters, we could definitely add some positive sentiments into our lives with some dance moves while paying attention to our mental well being.
The perfect timing for a weight loss plan
Saying yes to all the guilty pleasures of food made easy with delivery services have certainly peaked in popularity in the recent months. While we indulged in the luxury of fancy meals, many of us share similar worries of weight gain with the restriction of movements.
One of the many lockdown weight gain memes.
We certainly don’t want to see ourselves turning from left to right.
Which brings us to the next question. Does dancing help us lose weight?
Yes. It does.
Studies have shown that dancing for a solid half-hour could allow you to lose weight. (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/weight-loss/running-vs-danc i ng-what-to-choose-if-you-want-to-lose-weight/articleshow/64191135.cms)
However, the amount of calories burned depends on the type of dance that you engage in. For example, it is highlighted that attending a ballet dance class could allow you to lose twice the amount of calories as compared to contemporary dance with the same amount of time. The right intensity and speed could allow a person to burn up to 400 calories in an hour of dance. Of course, that also depends on your body mass and age composition. Depending on the dance routine of your choice, some places more focus on the toning of your body while others focus on weight loss.
With most of us having the flexibility of working from home, we could set aside some time solely for dancing to keep ourselves healthy. Dancing could even serve as an alternative for other vigorous exercises. Nevertheless, losing weight also comes hand in hand with a balanced diet.
Don’t expect yourself to achieve ideal results if you are constantly binging on food without putting any effort into dancing.
I mean, when there is no pain, there is no gain. Right?
Dancing is indeed necessary during the time of the coronavirus. While it may seem like the last thing that we need right now, it serves as a therapeutic outlet for us to keep our health in check and fight for whatever joy that we can afford.
Be it spending time with our loved ones or alone, dancing could add some excitement into our lives while we play our part as a responsible citizen by staying indoors. So keep the music playing and the dance coming.