I have a confession to make. I keep a deep, dark secret – but I think it’s time to bring it out into the open. It’s not been an easy decision to share this, so please don’t judge. Well, here goes: When I’m alone in the house, and I know nobody is coming back for a while, I go to my room, lock the door behind me, draw the curtains, turn on my laptop and then… I dance around to The Jackson 5. There, I said it. It wasn’t until I told a friend about this habit that I found out not everyone does this. I assumed we all had a good ol’ boogie behind closed doors, but apparently not?
This is not, you understand, to say I am a good dancer, far from it, but I know I’m not on my own when I say I simply enjoy dancing, whether drunk or sober, with friends or on my own. A few decades ago dancing was the focal point of any healthy social life; you learnt the different steps, certain dances became a ‘craze’, and most weekends were spent at the local dance hall with your friends, hoping to be asked to dance by that dashing young man you saw last week. Granted, today, we still have our version of this in the form of clubbing, however more often than not the dancing tends to be more of a challenge of not spilling your drink, trying to ignore the killer-heel-pain, and avoiding that lurking lurker who keeps ‘accidentally’ brushing up against your backside. Even when it is possible to let go and enjoy yourself, it’s a shame that nightclubs seem to be the only place most people ever dance.
Dancing is so good for us on so many levels, that i’m going to suggest, if you enjoy it, you give it a bigger slot in your life. Not only is it a great form of exercise, it is also a natural stress-buster and has been shown to improve your brain. There is no study break quite like an hour of dancing, whether that’s just refreshing yourself in your bedroom after sitting at your desk for too long, or whether you join a club at university that you can go to after a dull day of lectures. And if building up to a performance is not your thing, there are plenty of styles that don’t lead to this, such as ballroom, as well as dance fitness classes like dance aerobics and Zumba.
Often when asked what exercise you do, if your reply is dancing, you can be met with raised eyebrows. On top of this, there has always been the age-old debate of whether it can count as a sport, which seems to manifest itself in people trying to get the dance society members banned from the university sports club night. Whatever you call it though, dancing is a valid form of exercise. Anything that gets you in a sweat, your heart rate up and eventually leads to you being out of breath is definitely beneficial to your health. Dancing can be a much more enjoyable way of burning calories than staring at a wall in the gym, plus, if you join a class, it’s also a great way to make friends.
So whether you make a pact with a pal to both be in next year’s dance show at your uni, or whether you just have a good ol’ shimmy around your room and tell your housemates you’re doing normal things like star-jumps, make sure if you enjoy dancing, you make time for it in your life.
Disclaimer* I cannot be held responsible for any wardrobe inflicted leg injuries or bed inflicted stubbed toes. Though you don’t need a huge room to dance in, there are limits people.