Being in school is anything but easy. Between classes, extracurriculars and homework, it’s nearly impossible to keep our brains focused while remaining happy and relaxed at the same time. But recently, I discovered a cool new secret about how to help manage all of these different needs: dance!
When we’re expected to learn so much each day, our brains are running on overdrive and so it’s hard to consistently perform at our best. Sitting all day doesn’t help one bit. Dance can actually help power our brains so make it through!
Here’s the breakdown: When your brain takes in new information, for example when studying for a test, new connections are being made between neurons. When you exercise, your body releases a protein that actually builds and strengthens these connections, thus helping your brain to retain and process the new information at a faster rate.
Furthermore, exercising your body sparks activity in the part of your brain that controls motor capabilities as well as attention, thoughts and emotions. Since these functions are all interconnected, engaging in a complex exercise such as dance also exercises the brain’s ability to think, learn and stay focused.
Put a Smile On
Plus, dancing can make us happier! We all know that famous line from Legally Blonde in which Elle explains that exercise produces hormones known as endorphins that make you happy, so on that level exercise can help to improve emotional well-being. Beyond that, scientists have found that exercise such as dance releases a hormone that increases positivie emotions and may even help fight depression.
When it comes to anxiety, it’s easy to feel all of the pressure from school and life building up in you, and sometimes that pressure can turn into chronic anxiety. Dance can help to decrease muscle tension, which contributes to stress and anxiety. But what’s even cooler about dance is that it impacts chemicals and receptors in the brain that cause stress and panic so that anxiety attacks are not as easily started and/or are less severe! So whether you’re just stressed or experiencing anxiety, dance can calm you down and help you through the storm.
The connection between dance and emotional well-being is so strong that dance has been used as therapy since the early 20th century! So if you’re looking for a new way to exercise, or maybe you’re feeling down or having trouble focusing, try stepping off the treadmill and onto the dance floor. It may just be the perfect solution to keep your heart and smile going.
Maybe it’s time for a flash dance mob in the hallways.
Last reviewed Dec 1.,2014