5 Reasons to Get Dancing

Written in collaboration with Aymen Benkreira, professional dancer.

The benefits of dancing are countless, both for the body and the mind. It’s definitely a sport that’s interesting to try if you’re looking to get in shape and have fun at the same time. If you’ve always dreamed of dancing, but never dared, here are five reasons to slip into your something nice and comfortable and head to a studio near you.

1. Working every muscle

Rare is the sport that works the whole body in such a harmonious way, giving increased flexibility, deep muscle strengthening, a tighter silhouette, and equally if not most importantly, better cardio. All you need is two sessions per week to see results after a few months: a more toned body, firmer skin, better overall countenance and greater strength in the arms and thighs, specifically.

2. Learning to love your body

Dancing is also a great way to get to know yourself better and to learn to love your body. The mirror in front of us is sometimes our greatest enemy, but it also allows us to reconcile ourselves with our own bodies over a period of time. The dancer has no choice when it comes to paying close attention to his or her reflection, what the body is feeling, and thus the body in general. Slowly but surely, dancers learn how they move, how they work, and observe the progress they make with pride!

3. Appreciating music differently

Music is intricately linked to dancing. When it touches us, it takes us away and shows us how to move freely. Dancing becomes a way of listening to music differently, helping us to relax and enjoy the moment even more. To select a style of dance that will please you, think of the music you like: classical, pop, latin, hip-hop—it’s only logical that you’ll be more inclined to dance to music that you like.

4. Relaxing

Dancing, even at a professional level, must always be seen as fun. Taking yourself too seriously is the best way to tire of an activity, so enjoy the moment! It is a nice way to release the pressure that accumulates over the week and to “unplug” your brain. No need to think too hard, just let your body drink in the music, and the technique will come slowly but steadily. Dancing regularly can also help combat anxiety by releasing serotonin (the happiness hormone) during exercise. Dancing energizes but also relaxes—which is surely one of the reasons it’s increasingly popular.

5. Staying young physically and mentally

The effects of dancing on the body are obvious: firmer skin and better overall maintenance, of course, but more surprisingly, dancing stimulates the hippocampus, the part of the brain that’s responsible for memory and has a tendency to shrink with age. In fact, some studies have even shown that dancing helps combat Alzheimer’s disease! On top of all that, dancing is a great way to socialize outside of your immediate friends and colleagues—and that’s a great way to stay mentally young.

Are you unsure whether dancing is right for you, or if it’s the right time to start? Whether you’re three or 65, if you feel like moving and having fun, there’s no reason to put off this great sport. Breakdancing, waltzing, bachata, ballet: what appeals to you the most? The majority of dance studios offer free or inexpensive classes for those who want to give it a try, so you don’t have to decide right away! Be daring, you won’t regret it.

Aymen Benkreira

Aymen is a professional dancer and doctor. He has been dancing professionally since the age of eight and his favourite dance style is contemporary modern acrobatic dancing (tricking). He’s also a big practitioner of martial arts and works at the Montreal Heart Institute