How cardio dance eases stress, pain and tiredness
Grooving to the music can be powerfully healing: Dance lowers anxiety levels by 54%—that’s 44% more effective than meditation, according to a study in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine. “Dance is just the right kind of movement to reset the stress system,” says Harvard-trained hormone expert Sara Gottfried, M.D., author of Younger. That’s because it triggers the brain to increase the production of mood- and energy-boosting hormones like dopamine while dialing back the production of stress hormones like cortisol. “You have the ability to move cortisol through your body through movement,” adds Dr. Gottfried. That means the shimmying and shaking will help get rid of the excess hormones pulling you into a cycle of stress and anxiety.
Another benefit: The connection you feel with your body while dancing improves confidence and body image, further brightening your mood. What’s more, moving to the beat is a total-body workout, engaging muscles from head to toe to help you trim
inches, tone trouble spots and ease aching joints.
To get the benefits, follow Stephanie Scott’s lead and try dancing around your living room for 30 minutes three to five days a week. You can dance on your own to your favorite tunes or try an instructor-led program like CIZE, Beachbody.com.
“I worried I’d be tired on days I exercised,” shares Stephanie. “But I actually feel more energized and happier after I dance!”