Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dance Away Stress

Dancing with a partner lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which at high levels can wreak havoc in the human body. A recent study reported in the print magazine, Shape Your Life (December 2009), specifically talks about the tango as salve for romantic troubles. Cortisol fuels stress which often leads to anger. When squabbles turn more serious, stepping away and stepping out...with your partner, the article suggests, will turn down the stress. There is more, though. Dancing can raise levels of testosterone, the hormone with stimulates sexual attraction. The tango is mentioned because of its complexity; the more complex the steps, the better.

Dance as therapy has a place not only as part of physical rehabilitation in hospitals and rehab centers, but is added to the treatment of eating disorders, substance abuse and, more recently, autism. As the focus on brain fitness grows, dance plays a role, too. Not only does dancing increase the flow of blood throughout the body and brain, experts say that the demands of dancing engage the whole brain. Coordinating, balancing, counting and timing are all useful brain exercises. Furthermore, socializing is crucial for brain and physical health. Some dance classes are positioned as meditative, good for the body, good for the mind.

Get those dancing shoes out and work a few steps into your life on a regular basis. Dancing seems to be the perfect exercise!

Do you dance? How do you integrate dancing into your busy life?

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