Why does such a simple physical activity make us feel so good?
Dancing is a universal power that every culture loves to do. But have you ever wondered why such a simple physical activity makes us feel so good and lift our spirits.? Well, studies have found that dancing affects us simultaneously on four levels. Dancing stimulates us emotionally, physically, while there are cognitive and social elements also.
When you dance, the body releases a combination of chemicals that stimulate us emotionally and physically, making us feel good.
What Chemicals Does Dancing Release?
The brain releases dopamine when we anticipate or remember a pleasurable moment. Listening to your favourite music and dancing will lead to your brain releasing dopamine and make you feel good.
I am sure you have heard of the saying, the more, the merrier. Well, oxytocin may just back this up. Oxytocin is a connection hormone, released when we are in an area filled with multiple people around us.
Serotonin can give us many benefits and is associated with feelings of emotional ease and contentment. Any form of workout will increase the levels of serotonin circulating through the body. Increased serotonin levels can help improve our sleep, slow down the brain’s aging process, and help prevent anxiety and depression.
Endorphins can limit our feeling of tiredness and reduce our perception of pain. It is no wonder we can dance for hours on end without feeling the pain, well, until the next morning!
Dancing releases the most endorphins.
Most forms of exercise release endorphins, but research has shown that dancing releases the most endorphins compared to other forms of exercise, and not only that, but it also connects with the emotional centers of our brain. Most people experience an emotional release of happiness when dancing. It is such a great physical activity that allows people to let go of pent up emotions. Not only does dancing make you happy, but it also has a beneficial effect on your mental capabilities.
Cognitive benefits of dance
Studies have proven the cognitive benefits of dance. In one University, researchers from two universities got together a group of people then sent each participant into an environment where music was playing for five minutes. Each participant had the option to either sit and listen to the music, cycle on an exercise bike while listening to the music or stand up and dance.
Each participant had cognitive tasks to perform before going into the room to listen to music and afterward.
The study found that all the people who chose to stand up and dance displayed a marked improvement in their problem-solving skills afterward.
The same study found that the mood levels of the dancers also went up. It gives us an insight into how beneficial dancing can be for us on both a physical and mental level.
Dancing can improve spatial awareness.
Dancing can improve spatial awareness, also raising the heart rate and causing the body to release feel-good endorphins into our bloodstream. Another benefit is it also helps to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Just one of the reasons dancing makes us feel happy and relaxed.
What Is Spacial Awareness?
Spacial awareness is something we all have and use every day, whether turning a corner or jumping over a puddle of water.
Jumping over a puddle to avoid our feet getting wet is one thing, but dancing in a troupe of 20 can be much more hazardous. Watching a dance troupe fill the stage with all of their dance moves but never collide is the result of years of spatial awareness training.
Spatial awareness is your perception of the space around you and the relationship between how things move together. And it works on two fronts. The first is exteroceptive awareness, where we use our senses, sight, and sound to understand the space outside of our bodies.
The other, known as interoceptive awareness, use our bodily systems to help us move through space and understand our position. One example is our sense of balance.
Surrounded by and connected to technology.
Today, we can be left feeling disconnected from our bodies because we spend so much time surrounded by and connected to technology. I often look out the window and wonder, where are all the children? Then remember, most are sitting next to the television playing the latest video game.
Dancing is an activity that makes us feel so good because it makes us feel and reminds us we are alive.
Another factor and benefit of dancing is the social aspect it brings. It is well known and scientifically proven that the act of dancing helps with social bonding. The synchrony of dancing to the same beat as someone else is a powerful way for people to connect. Dancing is something that can be enjoyed at any point in your life, no matter what age you are or your ability.
Dancing can have a lasting impact on your life, and the good news is, it is never too late to start.