Tommye Giacchino

I thought I would share some of the healthy benefits of dancing. When is the last time you said to your self, “I can’t wait to go to the gym and run like a hamster on the treadmill?” There are those of us who like to run and then there are those of us who would rather take a needle to the eye. For me personally, I played soccer in college and running was a job for many years of my life. I am naturally a great runner with an above average strength in endurance. Do I like running? The answer is no. I am actually not a big gym fan. I love the competition of sports and  I do what it takes to be a contender. Until I found dance, working out was just a chore. With ballroom dance I find myself smiling and burning calories at the same time. I never smiled while running on the treadmill. So what can dance do for you? Listed below are some of the healthy benefits of dance and some of my experiences.

Social Interaction

Do you remember the study about the plants? One plant was praised with soft kind words while the other was scolded with screams and harsh words. The plant who was treated with love and praise flourished. This reminds me of a student I once taught.  It was almost 2 years ago that a man called me on the phone to sign up for a ballroom dance class. He explained to me that he had a fear of being in groups of people and he was very closed off for most of his life. His goal was to join a group class where he could challenge himself and force himself to interact with others. It was a terrifying concept for Joe. It took every ounce of courage to come to that class. Each session, he signed up again and again. It was a year later that he approached me. He said that this experience was life altering and he thanked me. The expression of dancing and the social interaction was a positive health benefit for Joe and he overcame a fear.

Posture and Strength

Each day many of us spend 7 hours of our work day slumped over in a chair staring at a computer screen. Many of us end up taking trips to the chiropractor getting adjustments or end up seeing a doctor for back pain. When we dance, we start to utilize a different group of muscles in our back that may not get attention otherwise. Some fitness experts don’t believe in utilizing weights. They believe in utilizing our own body weight for resistance training. Dancing requires you to engage core muscles and hold up your own weight. As we continue to train in ballroom dance, we start to see improvements in posture and we learn to hold up our core taking some strain off certain muscle groups. I used to have extreme shoulder pain before ballroom dancing. As a college athlete I was in tip-top shape. Since ballroom dancing, I have never experienced shoulder pain since. I believe that by strengthening other muscles, the strain on my shoulders has disappeared.

Laughing and Smiling

When we find something that makes us laugh, it released endorphins. When we laugh and smile that keeps us coming back for more. Since I started dancing, I find myself being around happy people all the time. I once heard this saying that negative people are like vampires and they suck the life right out of you. I choose to live and dance. I find myself less stressed and taking life one day at a time. My cup is half full at all times.

These are just a few of the healthy benefits of dancing. Living here in Chicago can be a challenge for us that love outdoor sports and activities. Ballroom dance is something we can enjoy here in Chicago for all seasons. Are you interested in learning more about ballroom dance here in Chicago? Please feel free to use the contact form below for any questions regarding dance lessons.

By Jessica Mays 3.19.14