Dance Therapy: 5 Benefits and How to Practice it at Home
In the quest for a healthy and fun lifestyle, dance therapy has gained popularity as an exercise option that combines rhythmic movement with music. This discipline, also known as “dance fitness,” offers a unique experience that goes beyond improved physical performance.
In this article, we’ll explore the top five benefits of dance therapy and how you can incorporate it into the comfort of your home. From weight loss to strengthening personal relationships, we’ll discover how this form of physical activity can improve your overall well-being.
Dance therapy, between physical exercise and the art of dancing
The origin of dance therapy is in Europe and, from there, it has spread to different continents, especially Latin America. This unique and versatile discipline isn’t limited to a single musical genre, but encompasses a wide variety of rhythms, from merengue, salsa, and reggaeton, to hip hop.
According to Blanca Libia Monsalve, a Physical Culture graduate, during a dance therapy session, a series of exercises designed to activate different parts of the body and increase cardiovascular resistance are performed. Some of the common exercises include the options mentioned below.
A basic form of exercise in dance therapy. Marching involves walking in time to the beat of music, which helps to raise the heart rate and improve cardiovascular endurance.
In this movement, the feet cross over each other while moving forward or backward. It’s an activity that is related to strengthening leg muscles and increasing stability.
This consists of opening and closing the legs in a pattern similar to the letter ‘V’. This exercise works the muscles of the legs and buttocks, improving coordination and strength.
Running on the spot
This is a common aerobic activity in dance therapy. It consists of lifting the knees while running in place to the rhythm of the music. This helps to raise the heart rate, burn calories, and strengthen the cardiovascular system.
This classic jumping jack move is great for increasing the intensity of your dance therapy routine. Start with your feet together and jump, spreading your legs and raising your arms at the same time. Then return to the starting position.
Jumping jacks improve endurance, work the body’s muscles, and stimulate calorie burning.
5 benefits of dance therapy
According to experts, dance therapy is a practice that offers a wide range of benefits for general well-being. In addition to being a fun way to exercise, it has a positive impact on several areas of our bodies.
1. Weight loss
In this research, Alina Acanda and Aleida Best mention that it’s possible to burn between 500 and 1000 calories, depending on each person’s metabolism. This activity combines dance movements with aerobic exercises, which helps to burn fat effectively.
2. Improve lung capacity
Dance therapy involves rhythmic and coordinated movements that require deep, controlled breathing. As you participate in this practice, your lungs are challenged to work harder, leading to improved lung capacity.
In fact, research reported in the Journal of Integrative Medicine highlights that it’s a recommended activity for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
3. Improve cardiovascular health
Dancing speeds up the heart rate and promotes increased blood circulation. This, in turn, helps strengthen the heart and improve cardiovascular endurance. Dance therapy is a fun way to exercise and keep your heart healthy.
4. It benefits the central nervous system
Dancing is an activity that engages both the body and the mind, and it has a positive impact on the central nervous system. By moving to the rhythm of the music and making coordinated movements, it stimulates the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters responsible for generating feelings of well-being.
In addition, dance therapy helps improve coordination and balance, since it stimulates neural connections and promotes greater mental agility.
5. Strengthens personal relationships
Dance therapy doesn’t only benefit the body, but also personal relationships. Participating in classes or group sessions allows you to interact with other people who share the same interest in dance and exercise. This creates a socially enriching environment where fun, mutual support, and motivation are encouraged.
Read more: 6 Health Benefits of Jumping Rope
How to practice dance therapy at home? Who can do it?
Dance therapy is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. No previous dance experience or special skills are required to get started. Children, youth, and adults can benefit from this practice and adapt it to their individual needs and abilities.
We’re going to share with you the basic steps so you can receive the benefits of this activity, adding variety and fun to your home exercise routine:
- Find a suitable space.
- Choose your favorite music, and make sure it has a good beat.
- Warm up; this can include stretching exercises, gentle jumping jacks, or low-impact aerobic movements to raise your body temperature and prepare your muscles.
- Follow online tutorials.
- Create your own routine. Combine different steps and dance moves to the music you’ve selected. Don’t be afraid to get creative and add your own style.
- Invite friends or family, dancing in company can be even more fun.
- Set goals and be consistent.
Read also: How Dancing Improves Quality of Life
Dance therapy, a fun fitness activity
Including physical activity in your daily routine is crucial to maintaining optimal physical and mental health. Dance therapy has become a very attractive option, as it’s varied, fun, and suitable for all ages.
One of the best things about it is that it can be practiced in specialized places as well as at home. It’s enough to devote between 20 and 30 minutes to it in order to obtain its significant benefits. Are you up for it?
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Acanda, A., Best, A. (2011). La bailoterapia: eje de motivación, al ritmo de la música. Revista digital EFDeportes.com
- ConceptoDefinicion (2023) Bailoterapia. Conceptodefinicion.de
- Khan, Iqbal. (2020). Dance Movement Therapy: A Promising Lifestyle Intervention in the Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Journal of Integrative Medicine. 8. 10.30564/jim.v8i2.2137.
- Monsalve, L. (2013). Bailoterapia, una actividad física para mantener un cuerpo sano dirigida a mujeres de 45 a 60 años del cantón Cuenca. Universidad Politécnica Salesiana.
- Pimienta, L. G., Medina, M. (2014). Plan de ejercicios de bailoterapia una alternativa deportivo recreativa para la incorporación de niños de 9 a 11 años de edad a festivales deportivo recreativos en el consejo popular ‘Celso Maragoto Lara’ del municipio Pinar del Río. Revista digital EFDeportes.com
- Rodrigues-Krause, J., Farinha, J. B., Krause, M., & Reischak-Oliveira, Á. (2016). Effects of dance interventions on cardiovascular risk with ageing: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 29, 16–28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2016.09.004
- The neurobiological understanding of dance movement therapy. (s/f). Lehigh.edu. Recuperado el 22 de junio de 2023, de https://wordpress.lehigh.edu/insalon/2021/06/19/the-neurobiological-understanding-of-dance-movement-therapy/