Recently actor Milind Soman, who is popular for spreading the message of health and fitness, shared a video of him dancing on a catchy beat Hakuna Matata (No trouble). Along with the video which was captured by his wife Ankita Konwar, he shared why dance is a whole-body exercise, no matter if you are good at it or not.
Captioning the video post, Soman wrote, “Hakuna Matata!!!!!! Dance whenever you can, it’s a great activity, whole body exercise, releases all happiness hormones and sometimes, makes other people laugh ???? but who cares??!!???? This is just after coming down from Uhuru peak, and you can hear the porters and guides celebrating with their rich, powerful, beautiful voices !! JAMBO!!”
While dance is considered just a hobby by many, there are numerous health benefits attached to it. A 2018-study by researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia found that taking dance classes can boost energy levels, flexibility and happiness in older adults and help them age better. As a holistic activity for the mind, body and soul, dance with its fast and rigorous movements elevates heartbeats, which in turn improves stamina. Many people take up dance, not for entertainment or professional reasons but for increasing their stamina or endurance which is the capacity of muscles to keep working hard for a longer time without fatigue.
Taking a cue from Soman’s “happiness” activity, here are benefits of dance for all including working professionals who tend to lead a sedentary stressful life.
“With dance, people can find a way to release stress, to disconnect from their worries and just do something they love to refresh their mind. It channelises their mind into a positive space and incorporates a form of physical activity into their otherwise stationery life. For me, health is a state of mind and fitness is a way of life. Dancing as a regime helps in releasing the stress that an individual goes through dealing with corporate pressure. It is an exceptional way to staying healthy,” notes choreographer Shiamak Davar, who is considered as one of the first to bring contemporary jazz and western forms of dance to India.
Dance also helps people in socialising and expanding their circle by connecting like-minded people. “Today, a lot of corporates invite my faculty to teach in the premises of their offices during/post-working hours for their employees to engage in a team-building exercise that helps them stay fit,” he adds.
This is how dance can keep you fit, mentally and physically and provides a newer perspective towards mundane activities:
1. Finding inspiration to grow: Dance as an activity improves non-verbal communication as it involves multiple physical formations which are used to express and get the message across. Music speaks to the soul and when it’s combined with dance, we grow internally and mentally.
2. Team building: Dance builds trust, not just in yourself and your body, but also in your fellow performers. The idea of being collectively responsible for something leads to better team functioning and understanding.
3. A sense of positivity and internal peace in daily walks of life: Music in itself is therapeutic. Dance is a physical interpretation of what the music says. Good music, good dancing is a great way to be in a happy state of mind. If the teaching pattern is interactive and communicative, it ensures that the learning process is fun and stress-free. Fitness workouts like Aerobics and Zumba are great examples of how rhythmic and well-planned dance moves can help in burning calories.
4. Dance is a fun activity: Most of the time, employees are caught up with work and a small amount of time is contributed to spending time with colleagues. Dance sessions at corporate organisations build relations and provide a chance to engage with fellow members.
5. Increased self-esteem and confidence: Dancing builds confidence and reduces stage fright. While practicing dance, an individual has several ways to express themselves without communicating verbally. This also increases self–esteem and develops an individual personality.
6. Improves mental health, productivity and efficiency in work: Dance reduces stress and helps one in releasing emotions. Dancing improves mental health and memory as it empowers the art of remembering. Since it is difficult to remember the whole choreography, continuous practice is the key.