Put down the runners, and lace up your dancing shoes: Believe it or not, dancing is one of the best workouts for your mind and body. One recent study compared the effects of dancing to walking, stretching and toning in adults aged 60 to 79. Over a six month period, only dancing slowed the degeneration of cerebral white matter—a process that’s associated with cognitive decline. The study suggested the physical, social and mental challenges of dancing (think memorizing steps!) are behind these unique benefits. Further research has shown that dancing can help curb anxiety and even boost happiness through social bonding. (Don’t miss these other expert-approved tips for managing anxiety.)
Dancing also counts towards the goal of 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, as recommended by the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. For maximum benefits, the guidelines suggest spreading out that aerobic activity over the course of the week in at least 10 minute intervals.