Everyone loves a little dance, whether it’s out in a social setting or just by yourself in the comfort of your home. While many think that dancing is purely for fun, it’s a great way to stay active in an engaging and freeing way. Dancing will work to strengthen your muscles and also build flexibility and balance throughout your body. Because dancing is a weight-bearing exercise that loads your lower limbs and is perfect for maintaining bone density. So, if your body is maturing and you’re worried about the risk of osteoporosis, dancing may hold the key.
Bone Density and Osteoporosis
When you don’t exercise enough, you will find your health and fitness levels struggling, but you’ll see a reduction in your bone strength and density. A low bone density can ultimately lead to osteoporosis, where your bones become fragile and brittle. Those with osteoporosis will experience joint pain and stiffness as well as more bone fractures and breaks due to the cartilage in their bones breaking down.
For most people, you should see the peak of your bone density occurring between 15-20 years old. However, if you’re a woman, then the integrity of your bones can start from the onset of menopause. In the ten years after menopause, mature women can lose up to 40% of their soft inner bone and 10% of their hard outer bone. Which, if left untreated, can lead to osteoporosis and impact the ability to live independently.
How Does Exercise Help with Osteoporosis and Our Bone Health?
Scientists at MRC Human Nutrition Research Centre in Cambridge have found evidence through controlled trials showing the positive effects of dancing towards bone density. Certain forms of dancing are weight-bearing, which help to build and maintain both bones and muscles. Dancing has also shown improvement in an individual’s balance and weight range, which is a crucial aspect to keep while growing older.
While exercising to add strain to your bones and muscles may sound like the wrong option, our bones love stress and tension. Found within our bones are a type of cell called osteocytes which can communicate amongst one another and other bone cells. While dancing and putting a weight-bearing strain on your bones, these osteocytes and bone cells will speak with one another to tell them when to adapt when impact hits.
But what does it mean when we say dancing is a weight-bearing activity? Weight-bearing exercises are activities done on your feet, which means you’re bearing your own weight whilst moving around. The difference between an activity like cycling or swimming and a weight-bearing activity is that the latter will see your body sustaining some form of impact, putting more pressure on your bones to stimulate new growth.
While dancing, you may find yourself running, hopping or springing from foot to foot. These movements will challenge your bones and create extra tension in your muscles and bones, stimulating your body to generate more growth.
Dancing for Osteoporosis Isn’t Just Great For the Body But the Mind Too!
Dancing is a fantastic form of exercise that won’t actually feel like exercise. It’s something fun and engaging you can do in the comfort of your home or at a class by yourself or with a friend. When dancing, you’ll never find yourself thinking, ‘only ten more minutes. Most people feel as if time flies by as they move around their dance floor. If you make time to dance often, you’ll find yourself focusing on the music and movement of your body and the steps; so the last thing you’ll find yourself thinking about is the time. Going to a dance class, whether it’s community-run or professional run, is a great way to stay social. You can easily invite other friends and make new ones who enjoy dancing as much as you do. Which will help you stay motivated when your weekly dance class comes around all while making efforts towards your bones health.