As a lifelong dancer and licensed Zumba instructor, I often, only half-jokingly, refer to my Zumba class as my “therapy.” I know that it brightens my mood, relieves my stress, and recharges my energy.
I was pleasantly surprised to recently stumble upon an article titled “Dancing and the Brain” by Harvard’s Mahoney Neuroscience Institute that confirms that dance improves both mood and cognitive function.
In other words, neuroscientists have found that dance makes us both happier and smarter!
But you don’t have to be a lifelong dancer like me to reap the benefits. Here are three simple ways to incorporate dance or movement into your life:
1. Check out a dance workout video with your Pima County Public Library card
2. Host an online dance party with family and friends
Use Zoom or another meeting app to “gather” and dance together in a safe, virtual space. For some tips on how, see this article in the New York Times, "Hire a D.J. and Turn the Music Up."
3. Have a three-minute solo dance party
If you’re feeling tired, frustrated, or “Zoomed out” after a bunch of online work meetings, crank up your favorite dance track and start moving. If you want to make sure you are dancing like no one’s watching, close your door and maybe even turn out the lights. After a song (or more), you will almost definitely feel less stressed and more energized.
Of course, YouTube also offers a seemingly limitless number of free dance videos and dance workouts, too. No matter how and where you find your dance inspiration, you’re sure to notice the mood-enhancing effects of dance. With the pandemic still raging and life far from “back to normal,” dancing it out feels better than ever.
-Jen, Library Program Instructor, Martha Cooper Library