Dance and Mental Health: Key benefits & Where To Get Started

Who hasn’t danced at home with the music blaring or gone out with friends to give it your all on the dance floor? Dancing is a great way to put a smile on your face, but it’s also a fun and healthy way to improve your physical and mental health. 

Following the rhythm of music with our bodies is a natural form of expression and has been with us from a very early age. If you play music to your little ones, it won’t take any time at all for them to start dancing. Many people still love a boogie, whether they are out with friends or alone at home.

All forms of exercise, especially dancing, have no age limit and there are many ways to enjoy this fun activity for all abilities and ages. Whether you are a beginner or have been dancing for years, we can all benefit from the many advantages that it has. Dancing is a form of meditation and can help to reduce negative thoughts. It not only has physical benefits like improving your heart health or losing weight, but it also has mental health benefits which we’ve looked at in more detail below.

Lifts your mood.

Dance is a natural de-stresser that helps you to forget about worries and problems while doing it. When you start to dance,  negative thoughts disappear or diminish, stress and tension are reduced, and it helps increase joy, vitality, motivation and enthusiasm for life. Dancing is commonly used as therapy, especially with teenagers, because it increases serotonin levels in the body. Now you know, if you don’t feel at your best today, play your favourite song and start dancing!

Strengthens self-esteem and self-confidence.

Going to dance classes allows you to interact with others and be more assured. Group activities help us overcome shyness and gain social skills that make us feel happier and strengthen our self-esteem. Dancing also forces us to make decisions on the fly. We cannot use the fixed patterns that we use in other sports such as running or cycling. This helps our thinking become more flexible and encourages brain plasticity.

Studies by psychologist Peter Lovatt, a former professional dancer, shows that dance helps us to make decisions. In his studies, he has found that people who dance are better able to deal with problems with different solutions.

We are ageless if we dance.

Dancing is one of the best remedies against brain ageing. When we learn new dances and steps, our memory has to be put to work. By doing this exercise, you can reduce the risk of memory loss by reversing the volume in the hippocampus, a key memory structure in the brain, which over the years shrinks and causes memory problems. In this way, you can protect the brain in the long term by dancing.

Awaken your creativity.

When we dance, we awaken dormant emotions within us, getting  in touch with our feelings and emotions. Dancing helps us to stay present,  it takes our mind off any fears or anxieties helping us to connect with our inner selves and with emotions that have been repressed. These emotions that usually live inside us can be channelled in a very healthy way when we dance.

Likewise, when we dance we make use of our creative side, which is usually not very conscious. When we allow our body to flow with the music we let the brain work freely and move forward on new paths, new solutions, and alternative routes. This creativity helps us to feel more comfortable with our spontaneous side.

Now you know the key benefits dance has for our mental health. What’s better than to take advantage of this knowledge and start dancing? Convince your partner or a friend and run to shake your body and have the best time in the city. We recommend some social events and dance classes in London to get you started and maybe you can make  dance a regular hobby in your life.

5 London dance classes and social events to get you dancing:

1.Swing Out Fridays

Are you a classic track of the 1920s to1950s lover? Then this is the best class for you! Every Friday at 7 pm at Morley College, you can learn the greatest vintage dances: Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, Solo Jazz…

They also have a small bar, and after the class, there’s a party so you can put into practice the steps you just learned! A different fun way to spend a Friday night and make the best memories.

2. Mambo City Monthly Saturday Social

Latin dances have always got us wanting to move our bodies. Mambo City organises a monthly dance social on Saturday from 8:30pm until 1am at Marlborough School. You’ll learn salsa and other Latin styles to impress your friends. Since you dance these styles in pairs, you will also be able to meet plenty of people and improve your dance skills all night. Don’t worry if you haven’t done it before, it’s open to all levels.

3. Monthly Sunday Matinee Social  

Want a romantic unique date? Join these monthly Tango dance classes and learn the passionate moves. Expect the best Tango, Milonga, and Vals tunes played with a bar and a super good atmosphere. It’s from 1pm to 6pm, so it is a great Sunday activity after a delicious bottomless brunch.

4. Join a class at City Academy

City Academy offers plenty of dance classes of all styles and for all levels in London. Whether you want to learn Burlesque, Flamenco, Ballet, or Tango, you can find them here. They offer flexible classes that fit into working schedules, so there won’t be any excuses for missing a dance.

5. The Jungle Body Dance Workout

Not a big fan of gym workouts? We got you! These dance workouts are all across London, and they will make you sweat. It combines movements from different activities such as Boxing and Sculpting with urban dances like Hip-Hop, Afro or Dancehall. If you love urban music and want to burn some calories, you would definitely  love their classes.

Why not get adventurous and try some of these social events or join a dance class and master a new skill in your life? Remember, dancing not only helps your mental health and keeps you fit, but it’s also fun!