Friday, July 19, 2024

Dance Your Way to a Fit Mind and Body

HomeFitnessDance Your Way to a Fit Mind and Body
Judy Matheny with Avondale Dance Owner John Glessner.

Photo at Top: A Social Affair Dance Studio Formation Team performing a routine they learn and practice together weekly.

When thinking about adding exercise to your routine, the first thing that may come to mind is a gym membership. If the thought of spending an hour on an elliptical machine leaves you cold, consider checking out one of Jacksonville’s many dance studios.

Judy Matheny took up ballroom dancing in 2023 and dances at Avondale Dance Directions. “I took it up to actualize a goal I’d never had time for in the past decades,” she said. “It was recommended to me by a friend who thought it improved his memory! Not everyone there is senior. It is simultaneously thrilling, embarrassing, and satisfying when you realize you’re acquiring the skills. Then you go dancing with more confidence.”

It doesn’t matter if you dance in your living room or a ballroom, the health benefits of dance are numerous and will leave you feeling better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Dancing elevates an individual’s breathing and heart rate which increases cardiovascular endurance.

“Ballroom dancing is good for your spirit – it challenges the brain’s ability to retain information, AND challenges the body’s dexterity. That sense of accomplishment is a feeling unlike any other.”

— Larry Audije
Owner, A Social Affair Dance Studio

John Glessner, owner of Avondale Dance Directions has been teaching ballroom dancing since 1977 and says that in addition to many health benefits of ballroom dancing, it helps keep the mind alert. The American Heart Association even lists dancing as an endurance exercise. And as a low-impact exercise, dancing can be beneficial for those with joint issues or arthritis. “With my two new knees, I had lots of work to do to move fast enough!” Matheny said.

So the Bee Gees were right in 1976 when they sang You Should Be Dancing (yeah!). Dance is a holistic experience that will keep you physically active while also nurturing you mentally and emotionally. So, whether you’re learning  new steps from your instructor or letting loose to your favorite tune in your kitchen, dancing enriches both your body and soul.

3 Benefits of Dance

John Glessner, left, with local dancers at a ballroom dance event.
  1. Sharper Mind, Lighter Feet: Improved Cognitive Function – Dance steps and patterns stimulate the brain and enhance memory and cognitive flexibility.
  2. Steps to Happiness: Improved Well-being – Friendships made on the dance floor contribute to mental and emotional well-being.
  3. Groove Away StressLearning new steps while enjoying music releases endorphins that enhance mood and mental health.


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