Why Dancing is More than Just Good Exercise

When was the last time you let go and danced—like, really cut loose and jammed out? If you’re still trying to remember that one time a few years ago, let me stop you. Go turn on some music and bust out a few moves right now. It doesn’t matter where you do it, what you’re wearing, what you’re listening to, or who you do it with.

Trust me, I used to be a professional dancer. None of it matters. All that matters is that you allow yourself to get weird, to get groovy and don’t be shy! It’s full body liberation. Plus, dance is incredibly good for you. It’s really like no other form of exercise on the planet. Here’s why.

Baby Daughter Dancing With Father In Lounge At Home

You’re moving in all directions.

Sure, exercises like swimming, running and biking are great, but dancing is unlike any of them in one crucial way—your body gets to move in every possible direction.

This is especially great for flexibility and mobility, but it also comes with an unexpected bonus—the ultimate workout.

The repetitive motions of most forms of exercise actually allow your body to utilize momentum, which lightens the load. In dance, there are so many wild movement patterns—along with lots of acceleration and deceleration—that it requires a lot more effort. That’s why a half hour of active dancing burns hundreds of calories. It’s one of the most hardcore workouts—and it’s fun!

It reduces stress + boosts mood.

Taylor Swift wasn’t kidding—”shaking it off” can actually help you feel happier and less stressed. One theory for why this happens is that when the body feels good, the mind reflects that.

On a chemical level, dance and full body movement release endorphins in the brain, but there is something even bigger at play here. Perhaps it is because dance was one of the first forms of human art and communication. On a primal level, we crave dance as a source of release. The evidence speaks for itself—it’s hard to not feel good when you’re burning up the dance floor.

Happy senior couple dancing and laughing together at home

It grows your brain.

In older adults, one study showed that three days of dancing a week actually increased white matter in the brain. Seniors who simply walked or stretched actually experienced a decrease in their white matter.

White matter is essentially the connective tissue that allows your neurons to communicate efficiently. When it breaks down, we think less clearly and may begin to experience more memory problems.

While more research is needed to understand the beneficial effects of dance on the brain, this initial research is a compelling excuse to take a regular afternoon dance break.

It eases social anxiety.

Therapists have been recommending dance as a solution to anxiety for decades. Think about it. If you can get comfortable dancing around people (for those with social anxiety, there is some ease in the non-verbal aspect), going to a dinner party feels a whole lot easier.

Dance also encourages you to fall into a unique mental state—almost a character or alternate facet of your own personality. Developing this can be a useful tool for those with social anxiety.

The point is, dance is fun and super good for you—but most of us don’t do it nearly enough. So blast some tunes, clear some space and have yourself an impromptu dance party RIGHT NOW! The benefits are so worth it.

Related on Care2:


Thomas M
Thomas M3 days ago

thanks for this

Sara S
Sara S8 days ago

thanks for posting

Caitlin L
Caitlin L11 days ago


Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin13 days ago

you had me at dancing!

Lara A
Lara A17 days ago


Martha P
Maria P19 days ago

thank you

Thomas M
Thomas M23 days ago


Lara A
Lara A26 days ago

Thank you

Ben O
Ben O27 days ago

Dance like nobody is watching... : ~)

Carla G
Past Member 28 days ago

thank you