As part of EuropeActive’s commitment to promote and safeguard an inclusive and welcoming environment for all across the fitness and physical activity ecosystem, and as part of EuropeActive’s Inclusion calendar, we are thrilled to promote the fourth edition of European Mental Health Week, 22-28 May 2023. This is further correlated with our European activities as it falls under our awareness-raising activities for our #HealthyLifestyle4All pledge.
Founder and Creative Director of DanceGLAM, EREPS Ambassador, and member of EuropeActive’s Inclusion Advisory Group, Tony Stone, has agreed to share some of his own professional insight on the topic.
The emotional and mental health benefits of dance are undeniable, and are a subject that I refer to countless times a year, around the world when traveling on my teaching tours. As a professional dancer and choreographer, with over 25 years in the business of dance and dance fitness, I have literally had thousands of people email, text, comment, or message me through one of my social media platforms, to share how my classes helped them get through some of the toughest of times. How a dance workout DVD of mine, that was given to them as a gift, surprisingly helped them get through losing a loved one to cancer. How taking the time to dance with me put them in such a better mental state that it crossed over into an improved physical state. How just the fact that looking forward to getting in that dance or dance fitness class with me instantly improved their mood. The amount of these comments and responses from all around the world drove me to research the subject, to find out just how dance is truly mentally beneficial.
Dancing has been shown to have a positive effect on people with depression and anxiety. In one study, dancing for just 25 minutes reduced the symptoms of depression by 47 percent and dancing for 45 minutes reduced the symptoms of anxiety by 57 percent. Other studies have found dancing can decrease cortisol levels- the hormone that is released when we are stressed. Studies have also shown that dancers tend to be more empathetic than the average person. Now while there is a chance this opens them up to slightly higher rates of depression and anxiety than someone who is less emotionally aware, dancing is an active way to deal with these emotions. This as opposed to an alternative of avoidance or even giving in to them. Dancing improves mood, increases energy levels and releases endorphins which make people feel better about themselves.
Other ways that dancing benefits mental wellbeing are:
- Increase in self-confidence
- Helping your heart
- Improvement of sleep quality
- Enhancement of brain function
- Reductions in pain and stiffness
- Rise in confidence as a result of accomplishment
- Real social interaction
Do your mental health a solid by wrapping your head around some dance, some dance fitness or both! Your mind will love you for it. Enjoy!