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Planning an evening out with your favorite peeps? Instead of just bellying up to the bar, consider a dance-date instead. Why? Whether you’re heading down to the local club or taking a group tango lesson, you’re automatically building a bit of lighthearted exercise into your evening. If it becomes a habit, so much the better—for decades, studies have shown that dancing is more than mere fun; it’s just plain good for you.
Let’s Dance. Some of dancing’s health benefits are as obvious as a pair of red shoes. As a weight-bearing exercise, it’s good for bone strength; it’s often an amazing cardiovascular workout, and it always helps to improve balance and flexibility. In the right setting, dancing can reduce stress and increase serotonin levels, literally taking us to our happy place. And recent studies also suggest that these musical movements pack an even greater potential for healing.
Move, and Be Moved. Dance has been used therapeutically around the world for centuries. Western culture has been practicing organized dance therapy since the early 1940s, when doctors began instructing World War II veterans to express their deepest hidden emotions through movement. Today, dance is used by doctors and dance instructors alike to treat everything from autism to eating disorders to depression. In the moment and for the future, a good vigorous boogie seems to be all upside. How many calories you burn is entirely up to you and the DJ. And though their long-term effect remains to be seen, we can virtually guarantee you’ll be in for a good time.