December 8, 2021

Just Dance

Moving to the music does a menopausal body (and mind) good.
By Selene Yeager
 
Dance has been a health and wellness darling for decades (centuries, really). Research shows that dancing activates brain pathways that release feel good neurochemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. It improves global cognition, attention, and memory. It reduces your risk of dementia. And of course it’s exercise, so it’s good for your general health.
 
So it’s not terribly surprising that a study published this summer in Menopause reported that dancing can improve a postmenopausal woman’s fitness, self image, and cholesterol levels.
 
In the study, researchers had 36 sedentary women, average age 57, participate in a dance program for 90 minutes three times a week for 16 weeks. At the end of the study, the dancers had lower triglycerides, higher (“good”) HDL cholesterol levels, increased fitness capacity, and improved self image.
 
As far as studies go, this isn’t the strongest. There was no control group that wasn’t dancing or doing a different type of activity. They didn’t monitor their food consumption. It’s pretty small. The women had been previously sedentary, so any exercise may have yielded the same results.
 
But that’s okay. I don’t think we need a deep scientific investigation to unearth the molecular benefits of raising the roof, dropping it like it’s hot, or busting out the Cha-Cha-Slide.
 
Dance is an obvious tonic for menopausal transition ills. It relieves stress. It’s social and joyful. It’s the ultimate mind-body meditation, keeping you in the moment while your body is in motion.
 
So this holiday season, find a dance floor, patch of living room carpet, or plot by the kitchen island, grab some loved ones, turn up the tunes, and dance for the health of it.

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