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As a form of exercise, ballroom dance has been
proven to help dancers in many ways, to include: sustained weight loss,
added muscle tone, strengthened immunity, improved posture, increased
flexibility, enhanced libido. Not only does dancing help in these areas,
but it can also ward off life-altering and life-threatening diseases
like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dementia. Ballroom dancing can even help a dancer expand their social circle, while helping curb anxiety and depression!
Ballroom dancing can significantly reduce the risk of health conditions,
such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and weight gain. Ballroom
dancing will strengthen the core muscles, improving your posture,
helping your back, and preventing future injuries. Strong core muscles,
which run the whole length of the torso, will add strength and stability
to the spine and pelvis. These muscles provide a solid foundation for
movement in all the Ballroom and Latin styles of dance, such as changing
direction, shifting weight, and all other type of floor craft. While
dancing, lungs receive plenty of oxygen, which will make the heart work
more efficiently. Dancing also tones the body and reduces the regular
aches and pains that people might feel as they get older!
Dancing makes you smarter!
Dancing has been proven to make you smarter and healthier.
People who dance often are likely to have higher self-esteem and a more positive outlook on life.
Couples who dance together tend to have stronger and longer lasting relationships.
People who move together (such as dancing or walking) will automatically strengthen their bond with each other.
Studies have shown that dancing has been known to improve relationships.
It can strengthen a couple's bond and relieve emotional tension.
"You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.
(And speak from the heart to be heard.)"
— WILLIAM W. PURKEY
"Everything anybody has to know about being a genuinely happy,
attractive, loving person can be found at a local dance studio for the
mere price of $12 a class ($10 if you
buy the package deal)." -SAMANTHA DUNN, WRITER, SALSA DANCER
10 Benefits of Ballroom Dancing
1. Feel confident when you see a dance floor.
2. Have more fun and less stress in your life through dancing.
3. No more 2 left feet.
4. Renew the closeness with your loved one.
5. Enjoy an easy and healthy exercise.
6. Be with your friends; make new ones.
7. Have an affordable hobby
8. Do something different - get out of the house
9. Prepare for a wedding, cruise, or event
10. Review and become a better dancer.
Dancing is the perfect combination of
social interaction, and mental stimulation.
Benefits of Dancing:
Help Your Heart
Benefits of Ballroom Dancing:
- Conditions the body
- Helps keep the heart in shape
- Builds and increases stamina
- Develops the circulatory system
- Strengthens and tones legs and body
- Increases flexibility and balance
- Helps with weight loss
- Relieves stress
Dance: Exercise that doesn't feel like exercise
"A colleague once told me, 'The problem with older people is they just
don't dance anymore!'" says Stanford's Laura L. Carstensen. "He's right.
Dancing is terrific exercise; it's fun and something most people can
easily do." Besides giving you a great cardio boost, dance strengthens
bones, works all the major muscle groups, builds stamina and improves
balance, coordination and flexibility. Also. if you learn new steps and
dance with a partner, you banish loneliness and ramp up brain power by
combining two other key elements of brain health: learning new things
•The next time you have friends over, put on some music and start dancing. No one will be judging you, so park your ego at the door.
• Feeling rusty? Check out the dance classes offered at your local YMCA or senior center; you may be
surprised at the variety. Learning new moves, or refreshing old ones,
challenges your brain and builds new connections.
• Shy? YouTube offers thousands of videos that can get you up to speed before you put on your dancing shoes. Margery D. Rosen is a freelance writer specializing in health and psychology.
Dancing can help those on the go find balance through artistic expression.
the summer comes to a close, many have geared up for the start of
school, work -or both!- for themselves and for family members. This
combination of undeniable stressors can bring about a wide range of
mental and physical issues. A lack of a proper artistic outlet for
anyone who’s just trying to keep up in today’s world, can actually
intensify the effects of stress on the body.
tips on how ballroom dance can serve as an ideal form of expression. As
a proven stress-buster, the artistic element in dancing can help
anyone: 1. Unleash a new skill-set. Having an artistic outlet one
can be proud of challenges the brain in a positive way. Because ballroom
dance helps dancers of any level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced)
develop a sense of musicality through movement, a series of
neurological processes take place that enable artistic expression that
builds upon itself. 2. Enhance verbal and non-verbal communication.
The enhancement of these skills has been directly linked to improved
ability in navigating through a variety of social situations. Developing
an eased demeanor through dance as a form of expression can
considerably improve confidence and relieve social anxiety, thus
reducing stress. 3. Express themselves as they exercise. Let’s face
it: not everyone has the time or resources to write, paint, practice
playing an instrument, etc. Ballroom dance can serve a dual purpose as
it serves as a mode of expression and is excellent exercise. In other
words, dancing can serve as a one-stop shop for physical activity and
artistic expression for those who value their time. 4. Love others
better. That’s right: art can help an individual be a more loving and
caring person. Many studies have documented the need for all to feel
validated and cared for; this is why ballroom dance has been known to
bring friends, couples, and families together. Not only is everyone
releasing their stress, but they learn to express their appreciation of
one another through dancing etiquette and the improvement of
Many can attest that a good dance lesson
will leave the body relaxed, release feel-good endorphins, and can help
bring perspective to a busy lifestyle. Dance as a form of expression is
ideal for anyone whose life is constantly on the go but wants to be a
more fulfilled and balanced individual and family member. See how many,
many dancers have found their ideal form of artistic expression through
ballroom dance and how it has dramatically improved their lives.
We understand this need for relaxation to improve and maintain health and
want to share three tips on how dancing can bring about relaxation
1. Promoting Chemical Balance: Simply put, dancing has been proven to
reduce the levels of stress hormones while stimulating the production
of endorphins. These endorphins are responsible for post-workout
feelings like optimism and relaxation. The more regular the exercise,
the more endorphins are released to aid relaxation and regulate the
2. Deepening the Mind-Body Connection: Mental stress is known to
manifest itself physically in symptoms such as muscle tenseness, cramps,
rapid breathing, and even lightheadedness. Dancing regularly, though,
can bring about a deeper mind-body connection by reducing stress. This
awareness is key to maintaining good overall health and keeping negative
symptoms and even diseases at bay.
3. Fun and Exercise: Ballroom dance is a stellar workout that is also
fun! It allows the body to work many muscle groups in a rhythmic and
repetitive fashion, which increases stamina and strength. It also allows
for dancers of any level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) to
unleash their creativity. What better way to both exercise and promote
relaxation than while listening to good music?
As a body becomes stronger through exercise, it can also become more
relaxed. Ballroom dance can help anyone with low-to-high levels of
stress achieve balance on and off the dance floor. There are many other ways dancing has helped many achieve their healthy body goals.
With all the emotional stress in day-to-day living, it’s hard to
keep a clear and healthy head. Unfortunately, all of those stressors
have the ability to bring about headaches. An article at Natural News (http://www.naturalnews.com/026062_exercise_migraine_headaches.html)
sheds lights on ways to ward off headaches. Exercise, of course, tops
the list as one of the best ways to lessen the impact of this type of
ailment in a natural and healthy way.
We are excited about this news and want to share how anyone can keep this
inconvenience at bay. Ballroom dance as a form of exercise can help
ward off headaches in the following three ways, through:
1. Oxygen, oxygen, oxygen: Regular exercise, such as ballroom
dancing, increases blood flow and, in turn, the amount of oxygen cycled
within the body. This increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain may
keep most headaches away by enabling normalized brain function.
2. Melting away the tension: A large number of headaches are tension
headaches; in other words, headaches that are brought on by symptoms
such as anxiety or stress. Dancing allows the body to relieve that
tension and provide with it a means to remove those stressors, thereby
alleviating most tension headaches.
3. Protecting from within: Cardiovascular exercise -such as dancing -
has proven benefits and healthy payoffs. From the release of hormones
that r egulate mood to the delivery of natural painkillers throughout the
body, a heart-healthy body is a sure way to prevent many ailments. This
helps keep the brain and body stress-free and, in turn, headache-free.
We know the importance of exercise to prevent illness and promote health for a happier life. See how others have become virtually headache-free thanks to the joy of exercise through dancing.
Dancing is a great way for people of all ages to get and
stay in shape. Besides being fun, dancing has many positive health
benefits. Following are the top 4 health benefits of dance.
is an important part of being healthy. Dance requires a great amount of
flexibility. Most dance classes begin with a warm-up including several stretching exercises.
Dancers must strive to achieve full range of motion for all the major
muscle groups. The greater the range of motion, the more muscles can
flex and extend. Most forms of dance require dancers to perform moves
that require bending and stretching, so dancers naturally become more
flexible by simply dancing.
Strength is defined as the
ability of a muscle to exert a force against resistance. Dancing builds
strength by forcing the muscles to resist against a dancer's own body
weight. Many styles of dance, including jazz and ballet, require jumping and leaping
high into the air. Jumping and leaping require tremendous strength of
the major leg muscles. Ballroom dancing builds strength. Consider the
muscle mass a male ballroom dancer develops by lifting his partner above
physical exercise. Exercise increases endurance. Endurance is the
ability of muscles to work hard for increasingly longer periods of time
without fatigue. Regular dancing is great for improving endurance,
especially vigorous dancing such as line and ballroom dancing. Elevating the heart rate can increase stamina. Just as in any form of exercise, regular dancing will build endurance.
4. Sense of Well-Being
is a social activity. Studies have shown that strong social ties and
socializing with friends contribute to high self-esteem and a positive
outlook. Dancing provides many opportunities to meet other people.
Joining a dance class
can increase self-confidence and build social skills. Because physical
activity reduces stress and tension, regular dancing gives an overall
sense of well-being.
The exercise benefits of ballroom dancing have been well-documented. It only boils down to common sense when you consider that with all the turning, stepping and maneuvering in ballroom dancing, you stand to burn a lot of calories in a session with your partner. The exercise benefits of ballroom dancing apply to all age groups, which is another attractive reason to take it up as a form of working out. Ballroom dancing is not typically seen as an exercise first and foremost, which contributes to the fun of this kind of physical activity. Here are several exercise benefits you'll gain from ballroom dancing with a partner.
Flexibility is a key exercise benefit of ballroom dancing. While women are generally more flexible than men just by nature, both sexes can benefit from ballroom dancing's provision of more flexibility. When you join a ballroom dancing class, you will find that it will likely begin with quite a few stretching exercises just to protect against injury, as well as to prepare your body to be able to do the dance steps with greater ease. Flexibility is something you come to gain more of as you do the actual dance steps. The reason for this is that many of these dance steps automatically call for moves that necessitate a lot of stretching and bending.
You get to develop more strength as you increase the time you spend ballroom dancing with your partner. The manner in which ballroom dancing contributes to strength buildup is by forcing a dancer's muscles to resist against their own body weight. For example, ballroom dancing involves the use of quick turns, spinning and strutting. Male dancers in particular get to really build up their leg muscle strength during the times when they must lift their female partners high above their heads. All these force-intensive actions require strength from your leg muscles, so your leg muscles are built up more and more just by doing the regular dance moves.
A good way to define endurance is the capability of your muscles to work harder for longer and longer stretches of time without succumbing to fatigue. The intensity that you're required to put into ballroom dancing makes this form of exercise a particularly potent means of building up your endurance. Each time you dance with a partner and work on your quick steps, lifts or twists and turns, you are conditioning yourself to be able to do these with less and less fatigue.
4. Mental Health
Since ballroom dancing is a communal activity, it has positive effects on your mental health. Studies back up what is common knowledge: Being around other people builds up your social ties, and socializing contributes to a positive outlook as well as a higher sense of self-confidence. Joining a ballroom dance class is one such way to accomplish this.
Ballroom dancing, and dancing in general, can offer a wide range of health benefits, even in long term circumstances. Because of the athletic nature of dancing, ballroom creates a number of long-term physical benefits. It is an aerobic exercise and therefore increases heart health, lowering risk for problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Dancing is also associated with better balance in older adults. Likewise, studies seem to show ballroom dance offers lowered risks for diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis as well, as well as toning and strengthening bones and muscles while helping maintain a healthy weight.
While long-term physical well being are benefited, long-term psychological benefits are much more diverse. One of the largest psychological benefits is that dancing shows a seventy-five percent reduction in the likelihood of an individual to have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia as they age, making it the most effective form of preventing dementia because of the mental challenge coupled with physical exercise. In addition the increased blood flow and released endorphins lead to less stress and a lower likelihood of depression. Due to the fact that it is a social activity, it also offers a more sociable lifestyle along, which can heighten confidence. Social activities such as mingling which go hand in hand with ballroom dance can also decrease stress and depression. The social aspect of ballroom dancing also makes it a more enjoyable form of exercise, thus increasing likelihood of frequent and repeated exercise, therefore reaping better physical benefits. The way dancers memorize their steps, through repetition is a common and useful skill for memorization, meaning those who dance are also better capable of memorizing.
Clearly, ballroom dancing can result in many long-term health benefits. These benefits range from physical health such as lowered cardiovascular disease to mental health such as decreased dementia. With these reasons present, there is no reason not to get involved in ballroom dancing.
“Experts Advocate Dancing for Health.” Helpingyoucare. Care-Help LLC. 23 July 2012. 13 October 2012.
Hanson, Rachel. “How Does Dancing Affect the Mind.” Lovetoknow. 13 October 2012.
“Health Benefits of Ballroom Dancing.” Dance Fever Studio. 13 October 2012.
Luckett, Debra. “Can Ballroom Dancing Provide Added Health Benefits.” Examiner. Clarity Digital Group LLC. 14 March 2010. 13 October 2012.
The many benefits derived from taking ballroom dance lessons.
As Americans start to practice New Year resolutions to lead healthier lifestyles, there are few healthy activities more impactful than ballroom dancing. Studies continue to affirm what ballroom dance instructors have known for years: taking ballroom dance lessons and ballroom dancing will improve physical health, increase mental acuity and provide a myriad of social benefits.
The benefits of ballroom dancing, and participating in ballroom dance lessons, result in physical, mental and social improvements in students’ lives. According to the Harvard Heart Letter, ballroom dancing can burn more than 400 calories per hour, a rate that’s higher than many other types of leisure and social activities. Ballroom dance lessons also offer mental benefits. A study led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that study participants who danced four times per week were 76% less likely to develop dementia. Students taking dance lessons regularly attest to the social benefits ballroom dancing provides, citing increased self-confidence and the joys of meeting new people and making new friends, all of which lead to a higher sense of well-being.
Whether attending private dance lessons, group classes or ballroom dance practice parties, students are realizing the benefits ballroom dancing offers.
“I believe in dance,” said Marina Vlasova. “I have seen it do incredible things for all kinds of people. I believe ballroom dancing is a cure-all— mentally, physically, and spiritually.”
Reasons to Dance
“People do not stop dancing because they get older, they get older because they stop dancing”
Dancing is a great way for people of all ages to get and stay in shape. Besides being fun, dancing has many positive health benefits
Reasons to dance:
Dance is considered to be one of the top five physical activities, out of 60 studied
It's great exercise! It’s healthy, builds and increases stamina
Overcome shyness, increases personal confidence; it’s a skill for life
Strengthens and tones legs and body, Increases flexibility and balance
Helps with weight loss, Helps you release toxins via sweating
May help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels, prevent osteoporosis
Ballroom dance is a rigorous activity that uses the larger muscle groups
There's a lot of great music to dance to, It's a great way to meet people.
There are so many kinds of dancing; you can't get bored with it. It's fun! A lot of people go dancing. It's easy to make friends in the dance scene.
Anyone can do it. I can't tell the million-dollar executives from the janitors. If you've got some rhythm and aren't afraid to move your feet on the dance floor, you've got it made. (well, almost).
Conditions the body, increases energy, Helps keep the heart in shape, develops the circulatory system
Get more fun and enjoyment out of your social life
Something to do with your Significant Other
Dance and stay young. Dancing is something you can do for the rest of your life. If you can dance well, people don't care if you are 20 or 70; prevents Alzheimer later in life
by: Cristina Amalia Dina
Summary of Medical Evidence and Benefits of Dancing
• University of Freiburg study in 1986: exertion and breathing rates of Latin Dance athletes performing a single dance were the same as cyclists, swimmers and 800m runners over the same two minute period.
• University of Oxford 1988: level of fitness of championship Latin Dancers is the same as Olympic decathletes; a dancer performing a two minute Samba experiences the same exertion level as that experienced by an Olympic 100m hurdler.
• Peter Pover, former President US Dance Sport Council stated that tests in Germany “found no significant athletic difference between running 800 metres and doing the Jive or Samba for 1.5mins” Sports Illustrated 1995.
• Medical research has shown that Latin Dancing is comparable with other sporting activities such as basketball, squash and cross country running with dancers performing at over 80% of their maximum oxygen consumption level and burning up at least 300 calories per hour (Blanksby & Reidy, 1988 British Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol 22, Issue 2, 57-60: Heart rate and estimated energy expenditure during Latin Dancing)
• Dancing used by a Mexican cardiologist Dr Hermes Ilarraza for heart disease patients. Patients did 30minutes of dancing over five weeks for five days per week and increased their exercise capacity by about a third.
• New England Journal of Medicine in 2003 reported that elderly people who danced frequently had a 76% lower chance of developing dementia.
Scientific Evidence About The Benefits of Dance
Numerous scientific studies have been performed showing the aerobic value of Latin Dancing in recent years. The University of Australia found that a Rumba can give the body more tone than running, and a Jive can raise the heart rate higher than a game of squash. In Germany, doctors found significant athletic advantage in dance when they wired the country's 800-meter running champions and its dance champions. Finally, according to the 1991 Steven F. Loy, Ph.D., International Journal of Sports Medicine study, Latin Dancing has the potential to meet exercise intensity criteria regardless of skill level and dances selected.
- CHA CHA CHA (Cuban dance providing full body workout) - SAMBA (Brazillian Carnival Dance isolating abs and bum, provides cardio workout) - RUMBA (Cuban dance which tones and stretches the whole body, isolating abs, arms and legs) - SALSA &/OR MAMBO (Cuban dance works the whole body and burns calories) - PASO DOBLE (Spanish dance which portays the Bull Fight, while stretching and toning body) - JIVE &/OR SWING (American Rock n Roll dance, burns calories through hige energy woorkout)
Ballroom dancing is “in” like
never before, with scores of new studios both for adults and kids opening
everywhere across the US, and people of all ages joining in the fun. So is it
hype, propelled by popular shows like Dancing with the Stars, or is there
something to ballroom dancing that just keeps so many people coming back for more?
The secret is simple: for many
ballroom dancing becomes a lot more than a hobby or a fun pastime. Dancing
turns into a new lifestyle filled with events, friendships, excitement and to
top it all off a slew of health benefits. Check out all the reasons why ballroom
dancing may be just the thing you need to try out for yourself.
New Social Life
If you are getting bored and
tired of the same people around you, and would like to expand your social
circle, ballroom dancing will provide you plenty of opportunities. From dancing
class to going out to ballroom dancing events, you will be meeting many new
people from all walks of life. In fact, ballroom dancing classes and events are
a melting pot for people of wide age ranges, racial, cultural and occupational
backgrounds. With all the studio practice dance parties, local, regional and
national competitions and nights out on the town allow dancers to have a full
Uplifting and Fun
Few activities can be as cheerful
and exciting as ballroom dancing. Low energy, sadness and lack of spirit have
no place on the dance floor. While you will need to practice and concentrate in
the beginning, instruction will happen in a fun, lively atmosphere; you will be
surrounded by happy, smiling people and awesome music. Once you learn how to
dance, it will be sheer fun and joy.
Truly Beautiful Interactions
The beauty of ballroom dancing is
that it really brings people together. It is a great opportunity to make
connections with people in a low-pressure environment, where there are no
expectations. You will meet interesting people you would have otherwise had no
chance of meeting. The best part is that they will all share in your new
passion for ballroom dancing, and this common ground is often the beginning of
lasting friendships. Among ballroom dancers, there is a real sense of community
that is not only fun, but is also supportive, warm and welcoming.
The vast health benefits of
ballroom dancing are well documented both by scientific research and confirmed
by dancers themselves. Ballroom dancing improves your cardiovascular system,
helping to prevent heart disease. It will noticeably improve your posture and
body alignment, as well as strengthen your body’s core abdominal muscles. As you
practice dancing, you will become more flexible, agile, and graceful both on
and off the dance floor. Ballroom dancing is also a superb weight loss
treatment, helping you burn as much as 400 calories in one hour, all while you
are having fun. To top it all off, dancing will improve your mental acuity and
has been scientifically proven to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease in older
people who dance on a regular basis.
Improve Your Self-Confidence
For anybody who is shy, ballroom
dancing is a simple, but effective way to boost self-confidence and improve
social skills. You will be not only practicing new dance moves, but will also
be learning how to dance with many different people. Every new partner will
present opportunities to improve your comfort level and communication skills,
as these will be essential on the dance floor. As you see improvements in your
dance technique and feel more at ease with other people, your sense of
accomplishment, motivation and confidence will continue to increase. Moreover,
you will notice these wonderful new qualities take root in all areas of your
life, not just on the dance floor.
Ballroom dancing is a wonderful
creative outlet, allowing you to discover and release your emotions and
feelings through movement. Dancing is natural, and anyone can learn to move and
express their feelings through these movements, it just takes some practice.
Sooner than you may imagine, you will discover a rhythm and grace in your body
that you didn’t know you had. In fact, dancing can become a truly unique and
creative way for you to express yourself with passion and share this creativity
"In many shamanic societies, people who complain of
being disheartened... or depressed would be asked,... "When did you
stop dancing?" ... This is because
dancing is a
universal healing salve." - Gabrielle Roth
UCLA Division of Geriatrics reports that ballroom dancing helps ward off dementia. The article states that staying physically and mentally active protects you from getting the illness. They say that physical activity inhibits the development of plaques-a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. They are protein deposits that build up in the spaces between nerve cells and interfere with their ability to communicate with each other. Physical activity mitigates the effects of free radicals, naturally occurring molecules that harm cells, or it may be due to the fact that activity improves vascular flow and helps control blood pressure, cholesterol and decreases abdominal fat. Dr. Randall Espinoza, MD, who is an associate professor psychiatry at UCLA, relates all this in his report.
“Yes, yes, I know all about it, that’s the thing with the endorphins,
that makes you feel good and why we should exercise and stuff, right?”
is what I can hear myself say to someone bringing this up. I would pick
up things here and there, yet really digging into the connection of exercise and how it effects us has never been something I’ve done.
Inspired by a recent post from Joel on what makes us happy I’ve set
out to uncover the connection between our feeling of happiness and
Most of us are aware of what happens to the body when we exercise. We
build more muscle or more stamina. We feel how daily activities like
climbing stairs becomes easier if we exercise regularly. When it comes
to our brain and mood though, the connection isn’t so clear.
The line around our “endorphins are released” is more something I
throw around to sound smart, without really knowing what it means. Here
is what actually happens:
If you start exercising, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress.
As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either
fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your
brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF
(Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and
also reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset
switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and things are clear after
exercising and eventually happy.
At the same time, endorphins, another chemical to fight stress, is released in your brain. Your endorphins main purpose is this writes researcher McGovern:
These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of
exercise, block the feeling of pain and are even associated with a
feeling of euphoria.
Overall, there is a lot going on inside our brain and it is in fact oftentimes a lot more active than when we are just sitting down or actually concentrating mentally:
So, BDNF and endorphins are the reasons exercise makes us feel so
good. The somewhat scary part is that they have a very similar and
addictive behavior like morphine, heroine or nicotine. The only
difference? Well, it’s actually good for us.
Now here is where it all gets interesting. We know the basic foundations of why exercising makes us happy
and what happens inside our brain cells. The most important part to
uncover now, is of course how we can trigger this in an optimal and
longer lasting way.
A recent study from Penn State university shed some light on the matter and the results are more than surprising. They found that to
be more productive and happier on a given work day, it doesn’t matter
so much, if you work-out regularly, if you haven’t worked out on that
“Those who had exercised during the preceding month but
not on the day of testing generally did better on the memory test than
those who had been sedentary, but did not perform nearly as well as
those who had worked out that morning.”
New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Reynolds has written
a whole book about the subject matter titled “The first 20 minutes”. To
get the highest level of happiness and benefits for health, the key is
not to become a professional athlete. On the contrary, a much smaller
amount is needed to reach the level where happiness and productivity in
every day life peaks:
“The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has
been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get
prolonged life, reduced disease risk — all of those things come in in
the first 20 minutes of being active.”
So really, you can relax and don’t have to be on the look-out for the next killer work-out. All you have to do is get some focused 20 minutes in to get the full happiness boost every day:
“On exercise days, people’s mood significantly improved
after exercising. Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with
the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated.” (University of Bristol)
Now, that’s all nice to hear you might say, starting to exercise regularly
or even daily is still easier written than done. At end of the day,
there is quite a lot of focus required to help you get into the habit of
exercising daily. The most important part to note first, is that
exercise is a “keystone” habit according to Charles Duhigg, New York
Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. This means that daily exercise can pave the way not only for happiness, but also growth in all other areas of your life.
In a recent post from Joel, he wrote abou the power of daily exercise
for his every day life. Coincidentally, he follows the above rules very
accurately and exercises daily before doing anything else. He writes:
By 9:30am, I’ve done an hour of coding on the most important task I have right now on Buffer,
I’ve been to the gym and had a great session, and I’ve done 30 minutes
of emails. It’s only 9:30am and I’ve already succeeded, and I feel
I’ve spoken lots to Joel about his habit of exercising and here are
some of the most important things to do, in order to set yourself up for
success and make your daily exercise fun:
Put your gym clothes right over your alarm clock or phone when you go to bed:
This technique sounds rather simple, but has been one of the most
powerful ones. If you put everything the way you want it for the gym
before you go to sleep and put your alarm under your gym clothes, you
will have a much easier time to convince yourself to put your gym
Track your exercises and log them at the same time after every exercise:
When you try to exercise regularly, the key is to make it a habit. One
way to achieve this is to create a so called “reward”, that will remind
you of the good feelings you get from exercising. In our big list of top web apps, we have a full section on fitness apps that might be handy. Try out Fitocracy or RunKeeper
to log your work-outs. Try to have a very clear logging process in
place. Log your work-out just before you go into the shower or exactly
when you walk out of the gym.
Think about starting small and then start even smaller:
Here is a little secret. When I first started exercising, I did it with
five minutes per day, three times a week. Can you imagine that? Five
minutes of timed exercise, three times a week? That’s nothing, you might
be thinking. And you are right, because the task is so easy and anyone
can succeed with it, you can really start to make a habit out of it. Try no more than five or 10 minutes if you are getting started.
As a quick last fact, exercise, the increase of the BDNF proteins in your brain acts as a mood enhancer. The effects are similar to drug addiction one study found. So when you start exercising, the feeling of euphoria is the highest:
“The release of endorphins has an addictive effect, and
more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over
Exercise and how it affects our level of happiness is an absolutely
exciting topic for me. Have you played around with this too and seen any
results? I would love to hear your thoughts on how exercise and
happiness work together.
Leo Widrich is the co-founder of Buffer, a smarter
way to share on Twitter and Facebook. Leo writes more posts on
lifehacks, efficiency, and customer happiness over on the Buffer blog.
Hit him up on Twitter @LeoWid anytime; he is a super nice guy.
The hot and sexy moves of the Argentine Tango not only keep the aging body in shape, they may also sharpen the brain. Researcher Patricia McKinley of McGill University recruited 30 seniors ages 68 to 91 for an unusual study. Half the group received tango lessons, and the other half were assigned to a directed walking group. The dancers got an almost immediate boost in their self-esteem. At first they came in with sweatpants and sneakers, but after the third or fourth class, they had on makeup and jewelry, McKinley says. The class was mostly older women, but also included many older men.
After 10 weeks both the walkers and the tango dancers had better scores on memory tests. But only the tango dancers improved on a multi-tasking test. Such a boost translates to better abilities off the dance floor such as the ability to talk on the phone while responding to an e-mail. The tango dancers also gained improvements in balance and motor coordination. This suggests they'd be at less risk of falling - a significant gain for older people, McKinley says.
Forms of Tango
"The forms of tango are like the stages of marriage. The American tango is like the beginning of a love affair, when you're both very romantic and on your best behavior. The Argentine tango is when you're in the heat of things and all kinds of emotions are flying: passion, anger, humor. The International tango
is like the end of the marriage, when you're staying together for the
sake of the children" ~ by Barbara Garvey, Smithsonian Magazine
A TWIRL around the dancefloor is one of 10 golden rules that can
dramatically lower the risk of dementia, a group of scientists claims.
Dancing is said to dramatically reduce the risk of dementia.
They suggest ballroom dancing because the need to remember the steps and
respond to a partner’s moves all help postpone the symptoms.
Other simple lifestyle changes including eating well, exercise and
enjoying life are also key to staving off the killer brain disease, they
say, cutting the chance of developing dementia by more than half.
Their golden rules follow warnings earlier this year that dementia rates
will triple in the next 40 years if people continue to lead unhealthy
Top 10 health tips
1. Taking vitamins can help
2. Take fish oils
3. Drink green tea
4. Drink odd glass of red wine
5. Don’t get drunk
6. Take some physical activity
7. Enjoy a rich and stimulating environment
8. Keep your brain active
10. Don’t worry about things
Ballroom Confidential Documentary
award-winning director Brian Lilla comes BallroomConfidential, a heartfelt and amusing documentary that follows
a group of rambunctious senior women and their younger dance instructors
preparing for a spy themed ballroom dance performance In
Search Of The Daytona Diamond.
With two weeks remaining, the mental and physical challenges of perfecting
dance routines partner with confessions of aging, losing life partners and
crossing the line between dance instructor and student. Culminating in a
passionate one time performance, BallroomConfidential
is a moving testament to aging, friendship and the power of dance. BallroomConfidential paints a comedic and
emotional portrait of a vibrant community who refuses to let aging and loss
interfere with having a good time.
reality of an empty nest forced Joyce Anderson, 41, of Richmond, KY, to
change her focus. Here she shares how she finally got fit and took back
secret binge eating started when I was 13, after my grandpa died. I
really looked up to him and we were very close, so when he passed away, I
turned to food to comfort myself. In high school, I was very active and
ran cross-country, but I still gained weight because I was overeating
when no one was around. At 19, I shed about 30 pounds in the months
before my wedding by going on a crash diet. But after I had my daughter
and son, the weight gradually crept back on and before I knew it, I was
over 200 pounds. I felt so unattractive that I hardly have any family
photos from that time. Occasionally I'd lose 30 pounds but then I'd gain
back 35 more. It was a vicious cycle.
Focusing on Me
2008, my daughter, a senior in high school, told me that she didn't
want to be a cheerleader anymore. I was upset—not because I was
disappointed in her, but because it would leave a hole in my own life. I
had been devoting all of my free time to my children's activities; at
one point, my daughter even told me to stop living through her. Her
comment hurt, but she was right: I didn't have a life of my own. I was
too embarrassed about my body to go out and socialize. I knew then that I
had to do something about my weight and "get a life," since both my
children were nearing college age and would be leaving home.
The Big Jumpstart
That year, two days before Christmas, I sat down and searched for weight-loss plans online. I found SparkPeople.com
(an online health and weight-loss community) and began to log what I
ate; I also read other people's blogs to stay motivated. I joined a gym
in January of 2009, and it just so happened that it was hosting a
Biggest Loser—type competition. I signed up, worked out with a trainer a
few times a week, and at the end of 12 weeks, I had lost 50 pounds and
won the individual female weight-loss category!
I continued to eat healthfully and stuck to 1,200-1,500 calories per
day. The competition kickstarted my weight loss, but I knew I needed to
find an activity that I really loved and would do long-term. Dancing
seemed like a fun challenge, so I used a coupon I had for a free private
dance lesson. The first class was a mix of cha-cha and salsa dancing,
and I definitely felt clumsy and awkward, but I had so much fun that I
decided to keep going.
Dancing My Way Thin
the course of a year, I continued to lose weight (about 50 more pounds)
and improve my dancing. In 2011, I competed in rumba, cha-cha, bolero,
mambo and East Coast swing at two different dance competitions. Dancing
has taught me how to carry myself, control my body and just have fun.
Now, at 41, I'm not afraid to take chances and I finally feel
attractive, something I've never experienced. And yes: I now have a
My Best Tip
a "cravings" day. If I have a craving during the week, I tell myself to
hold off until Saturday. If I still want it then, I eat it—but I often
find that the urge has passed.
My Stick-With-It Secret
visual reminders! I carried around this "before" picture of myself when
I was at my heaviest as daily inspiration to stay on track. I would
pull it out whenever I felt my commitment waning. It was a great
reminder that I didn't want to go back to that overweight place and a
positive reinforcement of how far I'd come. It really came in handy the
night before my first dance showcase (after I'd lost 65 pounds). I was
terrified that I would freeze up, but then I looked at the picture and
thought, Wow, I've come too far to turn back now.
3 WAYS IMPROVED POSTURE FROM BALLROOM DANCING HELPS
It’s no surprise that exercise, such as ballroom dance, can help improve posture. It’s only one of the benefits that taking ballroom dance classes can provide. What may be surprising is some of the additional benefits that correcting posture can provide:
1. Bad posture = bad body language. Some people
may say more with their bodies than with their words, but the message
may be interpreted incorrectly when having improper posture.
It’s been proven that people perceive and react more positively to
those who conveyed confidence, intelligence, and a welcoming attitude.
The main factor that relayed these and other positive messages was the
communicator’s good posture.
2. Bad posture = depression and anxiety. Because bad posture
diverts a considerable amount of energy to run vital organ systems, the
efficacy to operate other areas is diminished. Moods are negatively
affected, which can bring on anxious and depressed feelings. Ballroom dance can help fight these moods, not just through cardiovascular exercise, but also by promoting good posture (and bringing on a smile through dancing!).
3. Bad posture = diminished libido. It’s been proven that bodies with bad posture
have a harder time running more sophisticated processes which our body
deems secondary. This means that the release of feel-good endorphins and
other beneficial neurological activity is altered and addressed as
secondary. Ballroom dance is excellent exercise that can help bring that zing back by addressing posture through movement and balance.
DANCING MAKES YOU SMARTER
is a scientifically proven fact that dancing makes you smarter on top
of giving your entire body a great workout, it also improves cognitive
and decision-making skills.
requires remembering complex phrases, numerical association, spatial
comprehension, muscle memory, a mental and physical understanding of
anatomy and body physics, musical and rhythmic understanding,
improvisation skills, inter-personal relation, tactile intelligence, etc
etc. Creating in-depth choreography also requires research,
psychological analysis and critical decision-making, as well as a somatic understanding of all the above 'dancer' skills.
This handbook is designed to get you through your first 1-3 years of partner dancing. It covers:
Surviving your first dance class, social dance, and more
Avoiding common social blunders when you go out dancing
Dealing with shyness and social anxiety
The essential skills you must develop to become a competent dancer
“The Beginner Dancer’s Survival Guide” (115 pages) is a compilation of my 14 best newbie-centered blog posts, plus 6 new essays. Each essay has been revised and reformatted for your reading pleasure. Throughout the book, you’ll also find:
Helpful advice from my blog readers
Action steps, tips, and checklists
Thought-provoking questions to ponder
Lots of down-home wisdom and embarrassing vignettes from your author
This book is written especially for partner dance newbies in their first year of dancing. More experienced dancers may find it helpful, however!
Ballroom Dance Etiquette is a set of guidelines that help us navigate the social dimensions of dancing.
So, why do we care about dance etiquette?
Because, it makes the difference between having a happy or unhappy dancing experience, the difference between people wanting or not wanting to dance with you!
One of the beautiful aspects of ballroom and Latin dancing is the way the dancers follow the unwritten rules of etiquette. If you're brand new to ballroom or Latin dancing, you may not be aware of so many rules even exist.
Whatever your motivation for wanting to learn Ballroom Dance Etiquette, this book serve as your guide.
Full of useful advice and written in a laid-back, friendly style, Ballroom Dance Etiquette has all the tools you need to learn the inside-out of etiquette and many others relevant topics apply to the ballroom and latin dance fascinating hobby.
You'll learn how to:
BENEFITS THROUGH DANCE SUCCESS and ENJOYMENT IN SOCIAL DANCING BECOME A GOOD LEADER BECOME A GOOD FOLLOWER ATTRACT WOMEN TO DANCE WITH YOU ATTRACT MEN TO DANCE WITH YOU BECOMING A POPULAR DANCER DANCING, ROMANCE and EXPECTATIONS SHOES, CLOTHING and ACCESSORY
and many others relevant topic.
Give yourself the gift of knowledge you can enjoy. Put MORE fun in your life!
This book will help you. Let's go dance!
Dance Better: How to rapidly improve your social dance ability through attribute development By Clint Steele
When you learn social dance - especially as an adult - mastery can sometimes be allusive. The best way to increase your ability in social dance, swing, waltz, salsa etc. is by developing key attributes that are common to good dancers. These include physicality, confidence, musicality and leaning techniques for dance.
Once you master each of these attributes, you will automatically learn dance faster and dance better. Your lessons will be productive and your dancing will be free of frustration.
This e-book shares with you specific exercises and techniques that enable you to develop each attribute. It is short and to the point. In a short period you will know how to improve your movement, improve your timing and dance confidently in any situation. If you're a teacher, then you will also know how to get the most from your students and have them progress faster.
Imagine being free of those frustrations you are experiencing with your social dance at the moment. This e-book can show you how to be achieve this. If you're looking quickly enhance your dance ability, then this book is just what you need.
Dancing for health is a breakthrough in the way we think about our existence and our wellness. Isn't it easier to enjoy life and be happy if your body allows you to do the things you like to do? Dancing, as explained in this book, is one of the best ways I know to preserve your body, sharpen your mind, and keep you socially active having the best time of your life ever. Everyone agrees that when you are enjoying yourself in what you are doing, you are truly living. I believe that dancing is a way to achieve that enjoyment and at the same time, glean the rewards of good health. This book is about dancing, and the passion that people develop for dancing over a period of time. Dancing brings you tremendous joy, at the same time giving you many life prolongation benefits that enable you to live well into your old age in a healthy condition. It becomes a source of enjoyment, pleasure, exercise, fulfillment, mental growth, stimulation, social interaction and all-out fun that you can look forward to doing on a regular basis. When floating across the dance floor with a partner, you are connecting with another human being, in rhythm to the music, moving synchronously as if floating on air. So much for stress! Dancing, as I explain in this book, is one of the best physical activities we can do to prolong our lives, prolong our enjoyment of life, and enhance our passion for living. Dance to Live is my gift to you. I hope you enjoy this book. Please pass it on to others so they may benefit from it and experience the wonderful feeling of dancing, too. John P. Lenhart, M.D. Saint Petersburg, Florida
“I found the book to have something for everyone: social dancers, competitors, and those performing on formation teams. It took me back to memories of what it was like when I first learned to dance. This book is a good guide for women, to teach them patience with their partners, and it is an inspiration to men everywhere to start dancing and to never give up. It is as well a beneficial lesson for dance partners in how to communicate without blame when they encounter difficulties on the dance floor.” - Jean Krupa, USA Dance Social Dance Vice President
is a big part of many cultures and heritages; and each is very unique
to the factors that have impacted it. Dancing creates intimacy and
allows the dancers to communicate regardless of language, creating
bridges that span generations. It is through these dances that people
can express themselves and enjoy the community formed by movement and
rhythm. Learn more about some of the most popular and storied dance
styles, how they developed, and the moves they utilize.
(click above links for more dance history and descriptions)
The origins, characteristics and musical accompaniment of three of the most popular dances performed at weddings. Foxtrot, Swing and Waltz.
What is Foxtrot?
The Foxtrot is truly an American dance, credited to Harry Fox and dating back to 1914 when he was reportedly doing rapid trotting steps with his partner to Ragtime music (the original form of Jazz), and it was originally referred to as “Fox’s Trot”. Since those early vaudeville days both the music and the dance have changed into the more smooth and sauntering dance that we see today. Foxtrot is the classic social Ballroom dance- In most old movies when you see a large crowd dancing close with their partners to a big band, they are doing Foxtrot.
Foxtrot is danced to jazz or Big Band music, the same style of music that you would dance swing to. Speed is usually the deciding factor that makes a song better for Foxtrot (danced to 110-150 beats per minute) or for Swing (danced to 120-250 beats per minute), but you can usually dance a slow swing to any Foxtrot tune. In fact it is fun and not too difficult to go back and forth between Swing and Foxtrot in the same dance.
Foxtrot is danced in a closed position (facing your partner and holding them close). The walking steps are taken as “slows” (2 beats per step) or “quicks”(1 beat per step), with the most common Foxtrot rhythms being SQQ, SQQ or SSQQ, but ultimately the dancers may use whatever rhythm that they choose, which allows them to change their dance to fit the music.
Many people mistakenly think that Foxtrot is a difficult dance to learn , but this is usually because they are thinking of more complicated styles of Foxtrot such as International Style and American Silver and Gold Styles, that are used mainly in performances and competitions. Basic social Foxtrot (sometimes referred to as American Bronze Style) is fun and simple to learn, an excellent dance for beginners.
What is Swing?
Swing music has an infectious accent on the upbeat and makes even non-dancers tap their feet, and snap their fingers. The most elemental definition of Swing dancing, is any style of dancing to Swing music, and there are hundreds of styles. Swing dancing is usually characterized by it’s bounce and energy as well as lots of spins or under arm turns.
The original style of Swing dancing is the Lindy Hop which was named by Shorty George Snowden in 1927 after Charles Lindberg’s famed nonstop flight across the Atlantic. Known by many for it’s acrobatic moves called arials, Lindy Hop is also danced socially featuring 8 count and 6 count patterns, often with kicking or Charleston steps. Examples of Lindy Hop can be seen in recent movies such as Malcom X or Swing Kids, or older movies like A Day at the Races or Hellzapoppin. There are many different definitions and styles, but when most people refer to basic swing dancing, they are referring to a simplified version of the original Lindy Hop, favoring 6 count moves and also referred to as 6 count swing, east coast swing, jitterbug, and Lindy.
6 count swing can be danced to jazz or big band music from speeds of 110 beats per minute to 300 beats per minute, but most people enjoy dancing to the 120-180 beat per minute range. The 6 count basic can be modified in many ways, but is most common as rock-step, triple-step, triple-step (often referred to as triple time or triple step swing) or rock-step, step, step (often referred to as single step or single time swing). 6 count swing is easy to learn, especially when done with the single step rhythm. The triple step rhythm is better suited for slower songs, and can be substituted for the single step once you are comfortable with the steps. Swing music and dancing are two of the most important cultural imports of America, learning how to dance can be a great way to connect with a part of our history.
What is the Waltz?
One of the most distinguishing features of the Waltz is the 3/4 time signature that it is played in. This means that each measure has 3 beats rather than the more common 2 or 4. Waltz is counted 1-2-3 with a heavy accent on the 1. You can not dance other dances such as foxtrot, swing, or tango to waltz music because of this three beat grouping. Graceful turning moves are very characteristic of the Waltz.
The history of the Waltz goes back to peasant folk dances in Austria as early as the 16th century, but it began to resemble the Waltz of today when the Austrian aristocracy adopted and altered it in the 18th century, eventually spreading to France, England, and other European countries. Until the Waltz became popular, the aristocracy danced with their partners in an open position. The closed position (with the partners face to face and holding each other close) caused uproar, thought by many to be immoral and obscene. By the late 1800’s the waltz was generally accepted by polite society, and eventually many more closed partner dances, such as the foxtrot and the tango, were to follow.
Today, the Waltz is most commonly danced in the Viennese, country or ballroom style. Viennese Waltz is danced very fast and is characterized by an almost nonstop turning and is one of the most difficult forms of Waltz to learn. Country and ballroom styles of Waltz are very similar, with the country style danced at a slightly faster pace and incorporating more moves in open and side-by-side positions. Ballroom Waltz can be divided into American and International Styles. International Style originates from England and is danced mostly in competitions by more advanced dancers, while American Style is more suitable to beginners and those who want to dance Waltz socially. A beginner dancer should start with country or American style Waltz.
Are you looking for a way to get in shape, lose weight, and have more fun from your social life, increase self-confidence, learn a new skill and maybe meet that someone special? Then learning to dance might be what you are looking for.