There are many benefits to dance, however here are a few on why dancing is a great activity to try if you’re feeling stuck in lockdown.
Dancing is good for your health.
With work-from-home orders and remote learning, many of us find ourselves aching (literally) for some physical activity. Dance is a form of cardiovascular exercise, and can also improve balance and strength. If you don’t find other forms of exercise to be particularly enjoyable, or if you are looking for something gentler on the body, dancing can be a fun and accessible alternative.
Dancing is also good for your mental health. Like other forms of exercise, dancing can help relieve stress, improve sleep and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Research has shown that even five minutes of dancing can noticeably improve your mood and feelings of well-being, making it a convenient activity when you’re in need of a boost.
Dancing helps us feel connected.
With social distancing and lockdown measures keeping us physically apart, dancing (and music) are inherently social activities.
For one, the act of moving in sync with others, also known as “synchrony,” has been shown to increase feelings of closeness and unity among those involved. Even without physical gatherings, there are ways to benefit from the shared experience of dancing together. For instance, many dance classes have moved onto platforms such as Zoom, so that everyone can see each other and synchronize to the music. Similarly, virtual nightclubs and raves have taken off using Zoom or even Virtual Reality (VR) technology, bringing the social scene into peoples’ homes.
Dancing can also enrich our existing connections, whether it is throwing a household dance party, or meeting with a friend outdoors for a socially distanced dance session. If you prefer to dance solo (which is a great way to feel connected to yourself, by the way), music is already another avenue for connection, for example, by exchanging song recommendations. With a bit of imagination, it is possible to harness dance’s social potential.
Dancing stimulates creativity.
Dance is a form of non-verbal communication and can be a tool for creative expression. Like music and art, dance is a way of expressing powerful emotions that may be otherwise difficult to capture in words. Having a creative outlet such as dance can also be rewarding, by fostering feelings of self-esteem and mastery.
Finally, dancing can help stimulate new connections and ideas, especially when it comes to improvised dance. According to dance psychologist Peter Lovatt, dancing can help us break out of our routine ways of thinking, by altering the way we move and changing our relationship with our surroundings. This is connected to our ability to think outside the box, to creatively problem-solve, and can give us a fresh perspective on life. So if you are feeling stuck, a little bit of movement can go a long way.
Dancing is a simple way to stay active, connected and creative in the midst of this pandemic. So next time you find yourself looking to shake things up a bit, try shaking to some music. You might be surprised where it takes you.