If groove is in your heart, it’s time to let it out. Turn every floor into a dancing one because busting a move isn’t just fun – it’s good for your health.

Dancing can improve muscle tone, strength, endurance and fitness, which is easy to believe after a big night and many hours on the d-floor. Ouch.

The best part is you don’t need to be an expert, or a particularly vigorous dancer, to reap the benefits. As long as you’re getting physical, it counts! Even if it’s in the style of Olivia Newton-John  circa 1981.

Let’s break it down

Dancing is considered a low-impact cardio workout and according to exercise physiologist Fabio Comana it has some unique advantages.

“People think, ‘I’m not exercising, I’m dancing’,” he told the Huffington Post.

“But at the end of the day, you’re moving and you’re burning calories.

“It’s just as good as a cardio class.”

He explained traditional exercise, like running on a treadmill, improves cardiovascular endurance and body composition but dancing does that and more, enhancing your:

  • Muscular endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Agility
  • Coordination
  • Reactivity
  • Speed.

To get a good workout Comana suggests “aiming for an exertion level somewhere between a 5 and a 7 on a scale where 1 is resting and 10 is the hardest thing you can do”.

“You shouldn’t be so out of breath that you can’t speak, but your words should be a little choppy and your breath heavy,” he said.

No limits on dancing as exercise

Better Health recommends dancing as a way to stay in shape for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Some of the physical benefits it explains include:

  • Improved condition of your heart and lungs
  • Increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
  • Increased aerobic fitness
  • Improved muscle tone and strength
  • Weight management
  • Stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Better coordination, agility and flexibility
  • Improved balance and spatial awareness.

The opportunities for dancing are also endless. You don’t need a machine, a mat or even that much space to practice the art of dance, get a decent workout, and have the time of your life. Can’t promise Swayze though.

Shaking off the blues

Spend an hour shaking it off and you’ll feel pretty awesome. That’s because dancing triggers the release of feel good hormones like serotonin and endorphins.

Research shows dancing benefits the brain in multiple ways including:

  • Increased physical confidence
  • Improved mental functioning
  • Improved general and psychological well-being
  • Greater self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Better social skills.

Harvard Medical School noted that by “synchronizing music and movement—dance, essentially—constitutes a pleasure double play”.

“Music stimulates the brain’s reward centers, while dance activates its sensory and motor circuits.”

So, get moving. Dance out on the town, in an exercise class, with friends at a party or even alone at home – wherever you feel most comfortable boogieing down.

Here’s a tune to help you get started. It’ll whip you into shape real quick.