Exercise and endorphins
When we’re exercising and moving about, doing any physical activity, the body releases endorphins that make us feel good. And our physical wellbeing helps our mental wellbeing too – it’s a fact. Exercise releases the neurotransmitter, endorphins that serve to alleviate stress and. You will probably have noticed that an exercise class, a workout at the gym, a brisk walk, or a swimming session all help the body to feel calm and relaxed.
Dancing boosts our mood
However, taking part in dance can give an extra boost to people’s mood and mental wellbeing. A University of London study examined patients with anxiety who spent time in one of four therapeutic settings – a modern dance class, a regular exercise class, a music class, and a maths class. It was the dance class that helped significantly in reducing feelings of anxiety. And, in an Italian study, cardiac rehabilitation patients who took part in waltz classes experienced physical improvement and were happier than those who took part in cycling and treadmill training.
“Dance allows people to experience themselves in ways they didn’t know they could” says Miriam Berger, a dance professor and dance therapist at New York University, “You can change your internal state through external movement.”
Feeling part of a group
People have been dancing since prehistoric times and there is archeological evidence of dance dating back to the the 30 thousand year old Bhimbetka rock shelter paintings in India, and Egyptian tomb paintings depicting dancing figures from circa 33000 BC. It’s also thought that dance may have been used as a tool for social interaction that promoted co-operation and essential survival skills for early humans.
So, as well as dance helping people express themselves and process feelings, dance also bonds people and fosters empathy.
Get involved at Ludus Dance
As Lancashire’s leading dance development charity, Ludus Dance aims to inspire and engage people through dance. We believe that dance is for everyone and provide a varied studio programme, with something for everyone in a relaxed, encouraging and supportive environment, in Lancaster.
People who have participated say: “Taking part helps me both mentally and physically. My flexibility has improved and I find it helps relieve quite a lot of the weekly stress you experience at work! And it’s really boosted my confidence to do more!”
For more information on our weekly classes, from stretch and boogie, to tap, contemporary and ballet, take a look at our adult dance classes.