A short article in United Health Care’s Magazine Renew entitled “Let’s Dance” reminded me to take up this subject again. There has been much research on the subject of the best exercise for aging bodies, and dance keeps coming up number one.
Dance if it brings you joy
Of course, I still hold with the truism that the best exercise is the one you’ll do, so if you don’t like to dance, and I’ve heard rumors that such people do exist, it may not be the best one for you.
It is true that dancing is great for balance, strength, bone health, posture, flexibility, stamina, stress reduction, confidence, and it’s been proven to ward of a number of age related illnesses, but I believe it’s greatest benefit is joy. It’s no coincidence that this ad for a senior living facility chose dance as it’s metephor for what it will be like to live there:
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Dance is the embodiment of joy. It’s the perfect expression of a joyful feeling, and doing it also brings that feeling to you. My unscientific contribution to this discussion is that a joyful life keeps us young. I can’t say which benefit is the most important, though.
Or maybe dance anyway
If something unhealthy and sedentary brings you great joy, like say watching old movies while consuming great amounts of chocolate, you might want to give dance a go anyway. You may find that you can reduce the amount of time you spend on the couch and the amount of sugar you consume and still have great joy and a more cooperative body into the bargain.
You get to have joy in more than one way in this life. Exploring new things also brings energy and delight. Who do you know who’s feeling low because their aging body is beginning to betray them? If you celebrate the gift giving traditions of this time of year, consider giving them a package of private lessons from an inspiring dance teacher. It could be a life changer!
by LaurieAnn Lepoff
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