Did you know that dancing lowers the risk of developing dementia and other mental illnesses by as much as 76%. White matter deteriorates with age, but research shows that dancing is a great way to slow this process.

The worlds leading dancewear retailer BLOCH has collaborated with industry professionals to share the top ways dancing can positively affect mental health. With dancing being such a fun and widely accessible activity, we’ve worked with health experts to show the how the benefits are sure to motivate you to try and get moving on your favourite songs a bit more often.


1. Dancing is a foundation for mindfulness

Christine Nowicki, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and former ballet dancer, describes dancing as a great way to practice mindfulness. “Dance is an immersive training in body awareness. Dancers know exactly how to check in and notice where their bodies are in space, what their posture is like, where they are holding tension, where they are collapsed…the list goes on. This is a huge asset when it comes to learning mindfulness.” The awareness of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations is often practiced within meditation tactics, which further highlights the impacts of dance on mental wellbeing. 


2. It’s a mood-booster activity

Studies over the years have proved that dancing not only reduces stress and helps with self-esteem but also significantly improves one’s mood. Raven Gibbs, psychotherapist and professional dancer comments: “When you dance, the brain also begins to release dopamine and endorphins. The release of dopamine is a natural mood boost while the release of endorphins helps to relieve feelings of pain and distress, which helps you to relax. Releasing endorphins also helps us as humans to feel closer to and bond with others. This support helps to reduce feelings of worthlessness which further works to increase the quality of life”.


3. Dancing allows you to focus and escape

Many dancers would say that dancing makes them escape reality. However, that might also be true of the increased focus and attention a dance routine implies. Colleen Wenner, Clinical Director explains: “As you practice and master different steps and routines, your memory, focus, and attention improve. Pattern recognition skills also increase when you learn new dances and help you concentrate better. Dance is ultimately about the joy of movement and you’ll find your life becomes more fulfilling when you’re able to only focus on the present moment but also move your body in ways that make you feel happy”.


4. It provides a sense of togetherness

Particularly if you decide to join dance classes or simply dance with your friends at a party, dancing often promotes a sense of community and togetherness. Dr. Harold Hong, a board-certified psychiatrist at New Waters Recovery says: “Even if just for a few hours, social dances like jazz help reduce isolation and loneliness, two major risk factors for mental illnesses”.


5. The dance endorphins improve your sleep

Physical activity has well-documented mental health benefits, and dance is a great way to get moving. As a result of the endorphins released when dancing, your heart rate increases. After the practice you feel tired and relaxed, which ultimately improves your sleep quality as well. 


6. Dancing is an unapologetic way of self-expression

Finally, dancing provides an outlet for self-expression! When people suffer from mental health problems, they often have a wide range of emotions they don’t know how to articulate or let out. Having a non-verbal language to channel your emotions and experiences into can be extremely liberating. There are some things words can’t express quite so well, but dance can often help with that.