Go Ahead – Cut a Rug!

It’s spring, people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, and the U.S. is slowly coming back to life after having been through so much loss. You won’t be alone if you feel downright giddy, or if you feel like celebrating! Dancing is a fun way to celebrate – and it’s also good for you.

What’s that? You’re not exactly Fred or Ginger? More like Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor? Well, never mind your style or your reliance on a cane or walker – you’ll be amazed at the health benefits of dancing. No matter how rusty you are, dancing can help you improve your balance, strengthen your muscles, and exercise your heart.

But that’s just a start. The benefits of dancing go even deeper:

  • “Music and movement stimulate the brain, relieve stress, [and] build social connections,” says an AARP article. The article also notes that it’s a particularly good activity after the pandemic-related isolation.
  • Movement plus music = double rewards! “Music stimulates the brain’s reward centers, while dance activates its sensory and motor circuits,” says AARP.
  • Numerous studies have shown that dancing, like other forms of exercise, is good for the brain.

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a page about the benefits of dancing in their website section on Alzheimer’s disease and healthy aging. “Scientists have found that the areas of the brain that control memory and skills such as planning and organizing improve with exercise,” it notes. “Dance has the added dimensions of rhythm, balance, music, and a social setting that enhances the benefits of simple movement – and can be fun!”

Getting started can be as simple as turning on your radio. Find something with a tempo that works for you, and start moving. If you’re feeling more confident, join a dance class or invite friends to dance with you. And put that cane or walker to good use – let it help you move! Remember, of course, that we’re still dealing with a pandemic – you should continue to follow the CDC guidelines for people who’ve been vaccinated.

Ready to cut a rug? Let Fred Astaire inspire you: “I have no desire to prove anything by dancing … I just dance.”