Add This to Your Workout Routine to Feel Happier
It might not feature much, if at all, in your regular workout regime, but dancing is, according to experts, one of the best ways to boost happiness and reinforce wellbeing.
At its very core, dancing is about connection and communication between the brain and the body, so it makes sense that it can be of huge benefits to both. When we dance, the brain sends signals to the muscle, nerves and joints and in turn, the body sends signals back, activating the nervous system and the neocortex, the brain’s outer layer which is responsible for higher functions such as sensory perception, emotion and cognition.
By stimulating this network of signals and chemicals, the brain is working effectively and efficiently, all of which has been shown to reduce mental health issues. Dancing alone also creates a synchrony in the brain that promotes feelings of happiness, while dancing with a stranger creates interpersonal synchrony which bolsters a sense of social connectedness and helps boost mental wellbeing. If you prefer not to freestyle your dancing, then learning choreography is a bonus as it helps improve memory, creativity and overall cognitive function. If you need further evidence of its brain boosting prowess, one study compared the effects of walking, dancing and stretching on brain activity and ageing and found that dancing had the most notable positive effects.
In addition to the wellbeing impact, there are of course myriad physical benefits to be had from including dancing in your regular workout routine. As well as being an excellent way to improve your heart health, balance and coordination, dancing helps improve muscular strength too. It’s also great for bone health as it involves changes and movements in different directions and some resistance effort which is important for strengthening. When that happens, growth hormones flood the body, particularly oestradiol, an active type of oestrogen which helps maintain issues.