To take care of your mental health, dance!

To take care of your mental health, dance!

For many, dancing is just a fun and sporting activity. But a study, published in the British Medical Journal, claims that it is much more than that. For good reason, dance would be a promising treatment for depression.

The authors of this research arrived at this conclusion after analyzing the results of 218 studies in which a total of 14,170 patients over the age of 18 suffering from major depressive disorder participated. They compared the mental health benefits of several types of physical activity, including cycling, jogging, tai chi and dancing, to psychotherapy and taking antidepressant medications. The goal ? See if any of these sports prove effective in combating depressive symptoms.

Researchers have found that walking, jogging, yoga and strength training have particularly positive effects on depression, especially when these activities are done at an intense pace. They also noticed that dancing significantly alleviated participants’ depressive symptoms, leading them to claim that this sport “appears to be a promising treatment for depression“.

However, the academics point out in their meta-analysis that “the small number of studies, the low number of participants and biases in the study design prevent us from recommending dance more strongly” in the treatment of depression.

Regardless, there is no doubt that dancing is a physical activity that is beneficial for the body and mind. This sport activates many muscles but also the brain system. Indeed, dancing stimulates a whole bunch of cognitive processes simultaneously, whether it is to coordinate movements to the rhythm of the music or remember steps. It also promotes our psychological well-being by increasing the release of oxytocin (the famous “love hormone”), and dopamine (the so-called “happiness” hormone), and by reducing the secretion of related hormones. to stress, such as cortisol.

There is therefore no reason to deprive yourself of the thousand and one virtues of this physical activity. Especially since there are a multitude of different dances, and these can be practiced solo, in a duo or in a group. An Australian study, published in Sports Medicine, shows that dancing improves the psychological well-being and cognitive ability of those who engage in it. And this, whether they have set their sights on zumba, salsa, modern jazz, waltz or even country line dance.

Oriental, African or Latin… 10 dances to work out in music!

Slide: Oriental, African or Latin… 10 dances to work out in music!