How Dancing Can Help Your Heart Health

Shandra Martinez

| 3 min read

If having a heart-healthy lifestyle is on your list of goals list for this year, you probably know all about the importanceof nutritious foods and keeping an eye on a healthy weight. And you likely understand why keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels is good for your heart. But what about the benefits of fast-footed salsa moves, or circling the floor with a Texas two-step partner? Yes, it’s true. Dancing can help your heart health.
How dancing helps the heart. At the core, any dance moves that get your heart rate up can count as a cardio workout. And that means it’s an exercise that can make your heart healthier. According to the National Institutes of Health, any moderate physical activity that’s done regularly can make your heart muscle stronger. Here’s how it works: When exercise makes your heart stronger, this means the heart muscle can do a better job pumping blood throughout your body. This increases the oxygen levels in your blood, which also allows other parts of your body to function better.
A heart made healthier by dancing - or other regular exercise - brings additional benefits. These include:
  • A lower risk of heart disease
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Helping maintain a healthy weight
  • Raising good cholesterol levels
Research on dancing and heart health. A good cardio workout leading to better heart health is the main health component of a good pulse-pounding dance session. Regular dancing can also lead to better flexibility, body awareness and strengthening of your core muscles, depending on what kind of moves you like to do. And if you like dancing with others, there are a lot of social benefits, too.
The dancing-heart health connection was studied in a United Kingdom research project that involved more than 48,000 people. Participants were surveyed about their dancing and walking and other exercise habits, then their health was tracked for about a decade. Researchers found that people who described themselves as regularly dancing at a moderate activity level were less likely to die of heart problems after about a decade. The people who danced had slightly better health scores than those who identified as walking for exercise. And the results seemed to show women had more heart benefits from dancing than men.
Get your groove on. While heading to a nightclub or a salsa dancing spot will provide a fun environment for dancing, the atmosphere is not for everyone. If you want to ease your way into dancing as exercise, there are online classes, YouTube videos, or you can just turn on your favorite music and work up a little perspiration by dancing in the privacy of your own living room. Health clubs also offer exercise dance classes, as do some community centers. If you are comfortable dancing around others, these can be a great place to get a good workout while socializing and having fun with others. Ready to learn some new dance moves? Try adding these types of dances to your exercise list:
  • Tango
  • Belly Dancing
  • Zumba
  • Square Dancing
  • Ballet
  • Hip Hop
  • Line Dancing
  • Swing Dancing
  • Tap Dancing

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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