When I worked as a professional modern dancer, I went to dance class every morning. I sweated through combinations that worked my brain—it wasn’t easy remembering all those steps! I strengthened and stretched my body. I left energized.
But there was more to it than that: I was having a blast. I was feeling pure joy—my serotonin levels skyrocketed each time I danced. I was also making friends and working collectively with a group to learn steps and perform them to the best of our abilities. We were forming a community, which greatly improved my quality of life. Dance class was about so much more than “working out.”
Dancers do this for a living, but you don’t need to be a professional dancer to experience those benefits. Even a beginner’s class will tap into all the health juju a seasoned pro gets to feel. Here are a few of the benefits of dance you can make the most of:
It’s a whole body affair.
Get ready stretch, strain, sweat, and breathe.
No matter what form of dance you gravitate toward—modern, ballet, hip hop, salsa, Zumba, or any combo thereof—it will work your entire body. Unlike running or hitting the StairMaster, you will engage every muscle—and in unpredictable, dynamic ways.
Coordination, Coordination, Coordination
Build the brain–body bond.
Have you ever tried to follow a dance routine? It ain’t easy. There are many, many steps and they move you all over the dance floor, sometimes at warp speed (or extremely slowly, which can be even harder!). This not only works your muscles, but your attention span, your brain, and your physical coordination.
Strong Self, Strong Community
Some forms of dance are, of course, more social than others. Salsa, merengue, and ballroom, for example, require a partner. But even just taking a modern or jazz class will involve being in a room with other people, working collectively on a combination.
This has a different energy than simply running on a treadmill plugged into your headphones. There is something unique about forming a community around a shared physical experience that will motivate you to come back for more.
Build strength, flexibility, and grace.
Own the tights and leotard.
Want a beautiful, sleek body? Dancing is the best—and most joyful—way to get there.
It’s so much fun you’ll forget you’re working out.
Forget the grind and let the music move you.
This is nothing like dragging yourself to the gym at 6 a.m. to complete your boring workout. Dance classes can be so much fun that you’ll forget you’re there for exercise. Is there any better way to work your body than by having fun?
Interested in a certain type of dance, but not sure where to start?
Familiarize yourself with these accessible resources to discover which dance is for you:
- If you want to live out your fantasies of being a ballerina, try beginner’s ballet.
- If you want to sweat, sweat, sweat, try hip hop, Zumba, or Jazzersize.
- If you want to dance with your sweetheart, try salsa or merengue.
- If you want to dance barefoot and full-out, try modern.
- If you want something gentle on your body, or an alternative to talk therapy, try dance movement therapy.