I WAS at the end of my workout, about to close out my music app when one of my favorite songs came on. Oh dang, I can’t press skip on this one. I thought I would just continue stretching to it, but I couldn’t help but start dancing. I usually don’t dance — I’m pretty awful at it — but I decided to turn up the volume and pretend I was celebrating something.
Full blast and completely absorbed, the music brought on a mix of nostalgia and delight, as it was one of the last songs I danced to before the pandemic hit.
And as I was dancing, I accidentally caught my reflection in the window and thought I would cringe at myself, but instead I was surprised by what I saw: a face that was having so much fun.
Dancing is not just great for our bodies, but also our brain health|
Turns out, dancing is really great for our health: it’s an accessible way to get our heart pumping and support our cardiovascular health, improve our balance and core strength, and the gentle, self-paced nature of it means that even those with limited mobility or chronic health issues can participate.
And not just our bodies, but it’s also great for our brain: according to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, dancing is one of the best physical activities you can participate in to help prevent dementia and boost your cognitive health as you age, as dance activates the same parts of your brain that are responsible for memory.
Studies have also shown that dancing helps decrease anxiety, boost confidence, and overall has been linked with improved emotional wellbeing.
It took a pandemic to try dancing alone, but now I wonder how I lived without it|
It actually seems I’m late to the party when it comes to discovering how wonderful dancing at home can be: dancing videos on TikTok regularly go viral, and at-home dance workouts on Youtube have seen an incredible jump in traffic. It doesn’t matter if there’s no party: people are dancing alone in their rooms, in their kitchens, in their backyards, and even in their bathrooms.
When I first caught myself dancing alone I thought about how I probably looked ridiculous, but how can you care what you look like when you’re the only person in the room? For dancing is just one of those things that humans naturally love to do — feeling strong and feeling good, I realized I didn’t need to wait for a party, partner, or purpose, to start dancing.