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Let it be a dance we do. The dancing physiotherapist explains why, how and what dancing you should do.

 

Why dance?

I like to dance. It feels good, it is good and this is is why. 

Dancing is good for the body, it’s good for the mind and it’s good for the soul. It’s free, it can be done almost anywhere, involves no special kit (although I am partial to donning my belly dancing jingly wrap) it can be social when you want it to be and solitary too, and, well it just feels so good!

Different types of dance strengthen some muscles more than others but what all dance has in common is the following:

  1. Good for your your mental health, producing endorphins (happy chemicals that naturally occur in the body in response to exercise) regulating hormones, helping sleep, enabling meditation/mindfulness.  
  2. Good for loading the structures of the whole body and therefore strengthens, stabilizes and increases flexibility of:
    • Muscles 
    • Joints
    • Bones
    • Tendons
    • Nerves
  3. Good for proprioception – the body’s positional sense which reduces injury risk and improves sports performance.
  4. Good for body awareness and therefore enables you to listen and respond to what your body needs (more/less/different exercise/sleep/prolonged sitting/standing/stress/hugs/intimacy/challenges/rest.) 
  5. Good for balance good for sport, and, well, not falling over!
  6. Good for co-ordination – as balance.
  7. Good for staying mentally agile and therefore being more productive at work, effective at home, living a more fulfilling life and maintaining mental function into old age. 
  8. Good for having fun. Did I mention that?

 

Who can dance?

EVERYONE! I am certainly no professional dancer but I have rhythm, just like you and all the other human beings around you and, in the words of one of my toddler’s favorite books, everyone can dance when they find a rhythm that they love. It doesn’t matter how you do it, who you do it with or where you do it, just listen to the music and let yourself go. 

 

What is the best type of dancing to do?

The answer to this question is simple: the best type is the one that feels best to you. Start with dancing around your home at first and then if/when you are ready you can join a group of people.

A few popular types of dancing include salsa, street dance, jive, Scottish reels, ballroom, line dancing and Zumba (yes it counts) or you could just groove away in your local nightclub. There are tonnes of free lessons on the internet and I am sure there is a group of people local to you who would love to get together to dance?

However, if  I am pushed to say what kind of dancing I recommend the most, that literally anyone can do is the type that involves dancing like no one is watching…

 

Dance like no one is watching 

One of my most favorite types of dancing is ‘free dancing’ in a large group. Free dancing can also be called ‘mindful dancing’ or ‘creative movement’ and it basically enables you to dance in a group of other people, to wonderful music, interacting with the rest of the group as much or as little as you like (without alcohol or drugs.) You listen to the music and let your body move however it wants to, allowing yourself to react and follow the sensations it is giving you, letting your thoughts slow down and even go silent, and accept or even release the emotions in your heart. There is normally someone leading the group through various suggestions to enable a more fulfilling experience – a bit like a DJ! It can be hypnotic, meditative, fun, a little bit bonkers and always enjoyable.

 

How to dance

I am going to cheat here and refer you to this blog about how to dance I wrote recently which contains links to useful exercise videos so you can get stuck in straight away. http://www.octopusclinic.com/shake-like-polaroid-picture-physios-secret/

 

Keeeeeep dancing! 

So, if you want to keep healthy and live life to the full, in the words of a popular dance based TV show…. keeeeeep dancing! 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog, please do take a look at all the free advice and exercise videos on this website or get in touch by phone 02075838288 or email lucy@octopusclinic.com for advice or to book an appointment.

Please join our mailing list to get regular updates of my latest media and blogs. I write about the things I feel passionate about – physio, how to prevent and treat pain/injury, training technique, running, dancing and life. 

Until next time, I am going to leave you with some beautiful words by the late Ric Masten….

Let It Be a Dance

Let it be a dance we do.
May I have this dance with you?
Through the good times
And the bad times, too,
Let it be a dance.

Let a dancing song be heard.
Play the music say the words,
Fill the sky with sailing birds.
Let it be a dance.

Learn to follow, learn to lead,
Feel the rhythm, fill the need.
To reap the harvest, plant the seed.
And let it be a dance.

Everybody turn and spin,
Let your body learn to bend,
and, like a willow with the wind,
Let it be a dance.

A child is born, the old must die,
A time for joy, a time to cry.
Take it as it passes by.
And let it be a dance.

Morning star comes out at night,
Without the dark there is no light.
If nothing’s wrong, then nothing’s right.
Let it be a dance.

Let the sun shine, let it rain,
Share the laughter, bare the pain,
And round and round we go again.
Let it be a dance.

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