Psychologist & Coach
DANCE & FITNESS
Movement and recovery is a vital component of health, and yet the benefits for overall mind-body wellness that can be leveraged through optimised and creative movement seem, in large, appreciated only by the world of sports fitness. Any dancer will tell you about the power of dance and creative movement for wellbeing though, and today there exists a great amount of scientific understanding of how dance and fitness supports both mental resilience and happiness, as much as physical resilience, and immunity to illness, injury and disease.
Dance pairs fitness with creativity and this unlocks all sorts of wonderful chemicals in the brain. When dancers are "in the zone" they can switch into a meditative state which promotes focus and clarity. The benefits to confidence-boosting that also come with dance and fitness, along with the obvious physical benefits, are renowned. But confidence can be a big hurdle to those embarking on dance or other fitness activities for the first time - or the first time in a long time. That said, neuroplasticity supports our ability to successfully form new habits, so long as we are prepared to try repetitively and consistently for 45 days. This is the generally agreed time it takes for a new habit to feel ingrained, or easier, and for an old habit to finally feel overcome.
Recovery and rest is also an essential part of fitness and resilience. From sleep hygiene to stretching, mindfulness to meditation, rest is the body and brain's time to heal and recover from the stresses bestowed upon it from fitness activities - and general life and work activities too. Factor in quality rest periods to any health goals you are working towards so that you allow your body and brain to recover and reset for tomorrow's schedule.
The Dance Cure: The surprising secret to being smarter, stronger, happier
Dr Peter Lovatt
The Art of Resilience: Strategies for an Unbreakable Mind and Body
Body and Mind in Motion: Dance and Neuroscience in Conversation
Thinking with the Dancing Brain: Embodying Neuroscience
Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams