There is no more perfect exercise than to dance. The act of dancing can be the ideal combination of aerobic exertion, mental transcendence and social connection. Humans have been bouncing to drum beats around campfires for hundreds of thousands of years, and it has only been in recent centuries that we have taken dancing out of our lives. If you have relegated dancing to the realm of children or to the young and foolish, then you are missing out on one of life’s easiest paths to joy and an experience that helps to define humanity against the rest of the animal world.
Vigorous dancing can burn up to 100 calories every 10 minutes, and in addition to being an intense cardiovascular workout, dancing connects your mind, body and spirit. It also makes you a more confident person. Dancing costs nothing and needs no equipment except a CD player or sound system… or a friend with a drum. Dance in public and you will connect with other human beings as well.
Whether you want to learn the foxtrot like the contestants on Dancing With the Stars, head out and link up socially on dance floors, or just cut the rug in the privacy of your own living room, dancing helps to reconnect you to your body. Your body wants to dance. Let it.
A popular song asks, “When was the last time you danced?” If you can’t remember the last time you broke a sweat by doing a jig, try the following tips to remind you that human beings were made to dance!
- Discover music that you love. You might like house music, or pop, or alternative rock, but that’s not good enough. You need to find music that you absolutely love, music that gets into your body and moves it for you, music that speaks to your soul. This will require some time, effort and exploration, but what could be a better goal than exposing yourself to a new art on a path to a healthier body and spirit?
- DO try this at home. Many people can be shy about shaking it in public. Build your confidence by jamming out while home alone to your favorite music in the world. Let your body move the way it wants to. Dance like no one is watching – because they aren’t.
- Find your dancing crowd. Whether you lean towards swing dancing or bounce towards the growing electronic music movement, there is a community on a dance floor nearby waiting for you to join. Drum circles on the beach, bluegrass festivals and big band shows in the park are all places to find your groove.
- Get over yourself. Many people are afraid to dance in public because they are scared that everyone is looking at them and giggling at their silly movements. Guess what? Everyone is too busy worrying about how they appear to look at you. Get over yourself, because no one cares about your hang-ups except for you.
- Dancing is social: say hello! Like yoga or tai chi, dancing creates a flow of energy through your body, mind and spirit – but it also adds the smiling faces and laughter of new friends as well. The communal nature of the dancing experience is the icing on the cake.
- Have fun! Realize that on the dance floor, you are going to look like an idiot sometimes – just like life. This is unavoidable. Put a smile on your face and a dance in your step, and you will realize that a life spent dancing makes you more balanced, confident and in touch with your true human spirit and the soul that wants to dance.