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Better start dancing for better mental health, study says

Staying healthy is vital, regardless of age, size, or weight. There are several elements to consider, including consuming adequate water, using sunscreen, and consuming leafy green vegetables. However, a recent study indicating that dancing is particularly beneficial for promoting mental well-being in addition to calorie burning is becoming testament to the idea that physical activity is crucial for everyone.

According to recent studies, structured dancing, regardless of style, can improve a variety of psychological and cognitive outcomes more often than other forms of physical activities, with some cases being equally or even more beneficial.

This extensive systematic review delves into the impact of dancing on mental and cognitive health using meta-analyses. Participants included in the study ranged in age from 7 to 85 years, including both healthy individuals and those with long-term conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, heart failure, cerebral palsy, and fibromyalgia. Further, several types of physical activities, like team sports, martial arts, walking, and weight training, were compared with the dance therapies, which included dramatic, aerobic, traditional, and social dance genres.


Based on the study, practicing structured dance of any kind can improve several psychological and cognitive outcomes, such as emotional well-being, depression, motivation, social cognition, and certain memory-related issues, on par with or occasionally better than other forms of physical activity interventions.

“Preliminary evidence suggests that dance may be better than other physical activities to improve psychological well-being and cognitive capacity,” said lead author Dr. Alycia Fong Yan from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health and Sydney Musculoskeletal Health.

She also noted that dancing in a group or paired setting may enhance social relationships, learning dance routines can test one’s cognitive abilities, and engaging in the creative process might improve one’s psychological health. Furthermore, most people are aware that exercise is better for their health than inactivity, but they might not be aware that dancing can be an effective alternative to traditional forms of exercise like jogging, going to the gym, and participating in other sports.

The study also discovered that the existing body of literature focuses more on psychological outcomes for people under the age of 54 than it does on cognitive capacity for people over 55. These findings suggest that dance interventions are most effective with self-efficacy, anxiety, depression, motivation, and health-related quality of life, especially for older people.

Moreover, dancing appears to be more effective than other workouts for reducing the effects of somatization—the manifestation of psychological anguish as physical symptoms—although there is comparatively less evidence among those aged 16 and younger.

Dr. Fong Yan added, “Dance has far-reaching health benefits. If you stick to physical activity, the long-term, physical health benefits will reduce the risk of health conditions related to sedentary behavior, the social connectedness and psychological effect of dance will alleviate the symptoms of mental health conditions, and improvements in cognition could aid the independence of older adults.”

Well, as the study proved several benefits of dancing to improve one’s mental health, it’s now your time to groove around and show the moves you got!


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