Salsa, disco, house, jazz or free dancing – do whatever you love!
Dancing is amazingly beneficial. Exercise can be FUN, and it can be done anywhere.
– Dancing creates such zest for life, says psychotherapist and dancer Mari Ljungqvist.
Getting fit doesn’t necessarily have to happen in a gym, nor does one have to be a social animal to achieve it.
Most of us want to get ready for the bikini season, or tone up to pull on that special pair of jeans. This time of year it’s high time to have a good wellness plan. One great way to work out, and improve fitness levels with lots of enjoyment, is to start dancing.
Tuning into a podcast is a great way to get going. Every Sunday Mari Ljungqvist organizes a Dance & Movement ceremony between 16.00 and 17.30 (GMT+1)
– We do online dancing where I choose lots of different kinds of music and guide the participants to find their own movements with lots of rhythms, says Mari, who takes us on an embodied healing journey to liberate and cure ourselves with movement.
– We all seem to love dancing to drums! We encourage everyone to participate. Some of my dancers prefer to dance lying down. I guide people to use muscles and body parts that they might not use if they were dancing by themselves. It’s fun to explore things together, and I find that the participants are much more stable emotionally and intellectually, as well as physically, after dancing for a while.
Mari has been working with conscious dancing for 21 years now, combining her work with Open Floor dancing with that of a Psychosynthesis therapist since 2003. Hers is not the most vigorous dance style, but she sees lots of benefits all the same.
– In Open Floor dancing we combine dancing with therapy in motion, says Mari.
– Ours is a body based movement practice to cultivate embodiment and presence where leading psychological concepts are integrated with emotional and energetic transformation.
The more you dance, the better your endurance levels will be. Your muscle strength will improve and the more you dance the longer and more intense your dance sessions will become.
Yes, we all get out of breath when we begin, but after a few dance sessions you will be able to stay on your feet longer. You will also be able to do more difficult dances as you learn more. Like yoga, dancing creates better all-round muscle tone as it is a full body workout.
Exercise and healthy eating are both key if you are trying to lose weight or hoping to stay at your current weight. Dancing is a great way to keep those extra kilos off as it burns a lot of calories. The more active the dance type you choose, the more calories you’ll burn. But even calm and relaxed dance forms are still effective.
Even if you struggle with maintaining your balance initially, dancing is a great way to improve your spatial awareness. As you practice dancing, increased balance will happen naturally. And it also improves your bone strength and helps prevent osteoporosis.
All exercise releases endorphins, which boost your mood, so you will experience better psychological health with the dancing as well. Your body will feel more relaxed too, making it a great way to unwind. Dancing also helps you work out stress and feel a lot calmer. Learning a new skill is also likely to make you happier as you achieve new things and improve your moves-
– Be yourself! It doesn’t matter what you are wearing or how you look, says Mari.
– I pick a theme for the dancing – for instance the different elements of nature. and we all dance to music that sounds like water, reminds us of air, fire and earth. The drumming seems to ground us, and makes us stable body and soul. We get happy and healthy!
A healthy heart
Researchers have compared the results from 11 surveys that include a total of 49,000 people. The investigators compared the health effects of walking and dancing, and found that moderate-intensity dancing was associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease.
Dancing is good for getting your heart rate up and keeping you active, but it may also help to sharpen some of the thinking skills that tend to deteriorate with age. In fact, no matter how old you are, dancing may be a good way to keep fit and stay sharp, and even get your creative juices flowing.
Whatever kind of you dancing love, it’s great exercise. Just about any dance style can rev your heart rate, burn calories, and tone muscles.
A 65 kilo person will burn approximately 240 calories per hour while dancing. Dancing can have the same health benefits as a treadmill, but it’s more fun.
There is a silver tsunami coming. People who want to be well as they age are lining up to dance well into their 90’s. They want to remain physically and mentally active as they age.
– My oldest client from Houston, Texas, is over 90 and likes to join us online, says Mari Ljungqvist.
– She stands up for some of the movements, and dances from her chair too. Bringing art, spirituality and emotions into people’s lives through activities, including dancing, offers an added dimension to how we can improve physical and mental health as we grow older.
Text: Charlotte von Proschwitz.
Photo: Thomas Engstrom.
SUNDAY OPEN DANCEFLOOR WITH MARI LJUNGQVIST AND EMBODIED BRAVEHEARTS.
Dance & Movement ceremony with Mari
Date: Every sunday
Place: Online – Zoom
Hours: 16.00 – 17.30 (GMT+1)
Registration to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Investment: 14 Euro.