• Ann Marie Schuler

The Benefits of Recreational Dancing: Bonding and the Big Four

Updated: Apr 25, 2019


Over the past few months, I have received several emails asking whether or not I offer Adult Classes. What I have discovered is that the longing is there for so many Adults. Whether they used to be dancers when they were younger and miss it, or simply want a new form of exercise.


Okay, so maybe I’m a bit biased when it comes to talking about this, but let’s take a look at some reasons why dancing helps you lead a happier and healthier life!

Activate your Happy with the Big Four


Oxytocin is just one of the Big Four when it comes to natural chemicals that activate your happy. While you are busy getting your groove on your body begins to release that lovely hormone known as Oxytocin. More commonly known as the “love hormone”. By technical definition, it is the hormone released by your pituitary gland that causes increased contractions during labor. Which is why you may have seen increased studies on how many expectant mothers get up and dance to help get the show on the road.


Dopamine is the verb of our fabulous four. It is what inspires us to take action. To do more. This chemical is released when you are doing something you love. That could be anything from playing with your dog to doing laundry. I’m not sure why doing laundry made the list of things people actually love to do, but I suppose it can be attributed to having accomplished something. Accomplishment aids in the activation of this particular chemical.



Serotonin is the chemical in the brain that affects our mood. Adversely our mood also affects our serotonin levels. What does dancing have to do with this? I’m so glad you asked! A particular piece of music can evoke certain emotions within us, but the way you move to that particular song can evoke emotions in others. It’s why we seek the entertainment of watching people dance. It increases our serotonin levels naturally, lifting our mood. Low serotonin levels have also been linked to being a key player in cognitive decline. More and more studies have popped up providing substantiated evidence that increasing serotonin levels could prevent memory loss and slow the progression of loss. Which is particularly important if we’re talking about Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

If you have trouble remembering things or just want a way to increase your memory find yourself a dance class. Boost your mood AND your memory!


Endorphins round out this quadruple powerhouse. I could go into a long, drawn-out explanation about the three sub types that bind to mu-opioid receptors in the central nervous system...see I lost you already. Putting it quite simply, Endorphins are our natural pain and stress killers. Now, any physical activity has the potential to release endorphins, but dancing is particularly effective in doing so. It may not burn as many calories as running a marathon inducing what is known as a “runner’s high”, but unlike other forms of exercise recreational dance does not focus on a result. Getting your groove on can create the same euphoric feeling but is often less strenuous on the body.



Now, I’m not a doctor. I just play one on TV, but I have researched studies on this subject extensively. You guys can’t argue with science. Why? Because...science. If the aforementioned doesn’t strike a chord in what you are missing out on by NOT dancing, then perhaps the biggest reason of all could help sway you to grab those dance shoes and trip the light fantastic.


Bonding

Dancing on a social and recreational level can be traced back farther than our parents walking uphill both ways in a blizzard. Historically speaking it can be traced back to even primitive times when it was used to help celebrate a birth or mourn a death. Why do think it is prevalent at many major functions? Weddings, Prom, Homecoming, Bar Mitzvahs, Quinceaneras, Bachelorette parties, etc. Why are there dance floors in thousands of clubs across the country? No, the answer isn’t to torture you. It’s to help remind us that we aren’t alone. Dancing bonds us.


Let’s face it guys, none of us are getting out of here alive.





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