When you think of the word “exercise,” several different images may pop into your mind. Running shoes, soccer balls, or maybe even gym class. Clearly, there are endless ways for people to stay active and practice exercising in their everyday lives.

Staying physically healthy is not only extremely important, but also personal. Some people have an exercise of choice which allows them to stay fit easily. Discovering a favourite exercise can be based on what a person enjoys doing, and what they are physically capable of. But for some, especially kids and teenagers, it can be much more complicated than that.

Kids often consider the traditional methods of staying active to be boring, exhausting, or too intimidating to try at all. This can lead them to avoid exercising altogether, which promotes negative effects on their mental and physical health as they grow.

The world of exercise may seem confusing and intense at first, but this is far from the truth. In fact, one of the most proactive ways for kids and teenagers to stay active is by taking up dance. The mental and physical positives of dancing are numerous, which makes it a perfect solution to the struggles youth have with exercising.

Here are the 10 biggest advantages of dancing as a physical and mental activity:

  1. Physical Fitness

When young people engage in dancing, they are exercising their entire body. The activity itself helps children develop strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination, among other skills. Performing dances also improves cardiovascular health overall, which promotes a healthy lifestyle and a positive outlook on one’s body.

  1. Development of Motor Skills

There is a wide range of dances that kids and young people may be interested in trying, and they all have equal benefits. Dancing of any style requires movements such as jumping, spinning, and balancing, which enhances gross motor skills. Aside from this, children can develop their fine motor skills early on by learning how to coordinate their movements with music, and how to choreograph based on rhythm.

  1. Cognitive Development

It may not be obvious at first, but dancing actually engages the brain in multiple ways. Children learn to memorize and recall steps, sequences, and routines when they are put in dance classes. These practices improve their memory and promote the core cognitive skills that need to be strengthened as they grow. Dancing also helps with refining spatial awareness, as kids learn to move in relation to others in a group.

  1. Creativity and Self-Expression

The creative nature of dance is an obvious positive for young people. It provides a healthy medium for children to explore their emotions, ideas, and imagination through movement. Dancing even helps boost self-confidence and self-esteem, since children gain a sense of achievement when they are able to perform choreography. In this way, dance can be considered a tool for mental exercise.

  1. Social Interaction

Dancing often involves group or partner activities which can foster interaction and teamwork. When young people are made to dance in a group, they learn to communicate, cooperate, and collaborate toward a goal. Having the opportunity to develop these social skills is critical for mental health, as kids can learn how their actions affect others. Sharing, taking turns, and respecting others’ personal space in dance are all critical to personality-building.

  1. Emotional Well-being

Dancing is a joyful and uplifting activity that can enhance children’s emotional well-being just as much as their physical health. Dancing of all types releases endorphins, which are the “feel-good” hormones. When kids and teenagers dance, they are given an outlet for stress, anxiety, and negative emotions. Taking part in dance can also improve body image, which further motivates young people to stay active.

  1. Cultural Awareness

The art and practice of dance are valued across various cultures and have been for centuries. Different forms of dancing can be used to tell stories that are deeply rooted and sacred around the world. Through dancing, children can learn about traditions and styles of dance that they may not have been aware of beforehand. This can sharpen their cultural awareness and further exercise their mental health by promoting a sense of appreciation.

  1. Discipline and Focus

Without a doubt, one of the most important traits that young people can build with dance is the ability to focus. Dancing of any style requires discipline and focus, as children need to concentrate on learning steps, following instructions, and maintaining proper form. It teaches them patience, perseverance, and the value of hard work.

  1. Confidence and Performance Skills

It is not uncommon for young people to struggle with being shy and reserved, especially when they are not given a chance to work through it. Performing in front of others, whether on stage or in a dance class, helps to build confidence and decrease the fear of being visible in public. Through dancing, children learn to overcome stage fright, present themselves, and showcase their abilities, which boosts public speaking skills and self-worth.

  1. Lifelong Benefits

Believe it or not, the mental and physical benefits of dancing extend beyond childhood. When young people continue dancing into adulthood, they can maintain their physical fitness, artistic expression, and social connections. The skills they took up in their early life only get stronger and allow them to keep up their healthy habits. Dancing can also open doors to potential career paths in the performing arts or related industries.

Overall, the art of dancing offers the opportunity for a universal skill-development experience for kids. Dance is an excellent way for young people to stay active both inside and out, as it sharpens cognition, social skills, and physical health.

If you or your child are interested in the potential of dance, discover how the iMatter program involves young people in the performing arts. iMatter helps youth explore their creativity while making friends along the way. For more information, visit the iMatter website or contact Canyon Entertainment Group via info(at)canyonentertainmentgroup.com.