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Mental Health Awareness Week 2017: The benefits of a dance class

9th May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017: The benefits of a dance class
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week 2017. The concept behind the week is to encourage more people to face up to the mental health problems they are facing and to let them know that they are not alone.

In the UK, there is still a massive stigma surrounding mental health, especially for men. Many feel it's a sign of weakness or are ashamed. This prevents them speaking out and only makes the problems worse.

Here are some of the statistics from this years report:

- Only 13% of people report living with high levels of 'good mental health'

- More than 4 in 10 people say they have experienced depression

- 7 out of 10 young adults have experienced a mental health problem.

Mental health is still a big problem in this country. As part of the full report, the Mental Health Foundation offered ways to improve mental health. One of them was 'Keep Active':

“Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy and also offers a significant benefit towards improving your mental health. Exercising doesn’t just mean doing sport or going to the gym. Walks in the park, gardening or housework can also keep you active. Short periods of high intensity activity also carry particular benefits to brain health as you get older.”

Dance classes for mental health

Dance classes are an excellent form of exercise for people of all ages and studies have shown that they can help to improve mental health.

Dance Therapy

Dance therapy is a tried and tested method of working with people suffering from mental illness. Dance allows you to express and manage your feelings. It gives you the freedom to express yourself without having to find the words to do it.

Studies

Studies showed that patients who had been hospitalised with depression showed a reduction in symptoms after a series of recreational dance sessions.

Further studies have proven that those who suffer from Parkinsons reported an increase in mood levels after taking part in a 10 week dance program. Even a week after the course had finished, patients were still reporting improved mood.

Ballroom dancing has also been proven to be effective in those suffering from dementia. Basic tasks such as having to remember the steps has been shown to improve memory function.

FEELGOOD

As with any form of exercise, dancing gets the blood pumping and releases endorphins through the body. In turn this leaves you feeling energised and positive as you leave a dance session.

Social Dancing

Another perk of dancing is the social side of it. Dance events of a weekend are a good opportunity to go out, have fun, make new friends and blow off some steam. This is a good way to raise spirits and the support of a social group can really help you to feel more positive about your situation.

How to find a dance class near you

As we've shown, dance classes are a great way to create a positive feeling and improve mental health. The good news is it's very easy to find one.

On Dance Near You, there are all kind of dance classes available across the UK. Ballroom dancing classes, Zumba classes and salsa classes are just a few examples of what's on offer.

To find one, simply enter your location on the homepage search to find your nearest dance instructors.

Alternatively, if you're using an iPhone, download the 'NearYou' App and search for classes in your area.