It appears that you might be using an outdated browser. Some features of our site may not work.
For an optimal browsing experience, we recommend installing Google Chrome or Firefox.

Most of us are familiar with the great feeling obtained from spending time out on the dance floor. From weddings and holiday parties to aerobic classes or even dance lessons, moving our body often does a lot to lift our mood. It turns out there is a scientific explanation behind those mood-boosting moves, and there are ways we can use dance to improve our mental health.

There are many benefits of dance supported by research. Dance improves your heart health, overall muscle strength, balance and coordination, and reduces depression. These benefits have been seen across a variety of ages and demographics.

Swedish researchers studied more than 100 teenage girls who were struggling with issues like depression and anxiety. Half of the girls attended weekly dance classes, while the other half didn’t. The results showed the girls who took the dance classes improved their mental health and reported a boost in their mood. These positive effects lasted up to eight months after the dance classes ended. The researchers concluded dance could result in a very positive experience for participants and could potentially contribute to sustained new healthy habits.

Teens aren’t the only ones who can dance their way to mental health. Senior adults (and adults of all ages) can reap the benefits too. A small group of senior adults, ages 65-91, was recently studied in North Dakota. After taking 12 weeks of Zumba (a dance fitness class), the seniors reported improved moods and cognitive skills. Not to mention increased strength and agility.

Aside from the benefits of movement and music, dancing also allows us to become more connected and social. Making new friendships or reconnecting in an old relationship can be a wonderful side effect of dance. These social interactions can go a long way in improving mood and mental health.

If you are struggling with depression, consider trying dance as a form of therapy. While dancing should never replace seeking out help from a professional, it can be one tool you use to stay healthy. A formal dance class, exercise class, or even alone in your room could be enough to make a difference. Looking for motivation to get started? We have some suggestions that should help get you moving!