Time for a Dance #Break!!
I dance every day. Many people might be shocked by that fact, but I do – I dance every day, at least once, in my kitchen. I inherited this from my grandmother Eleanor, my Dad’s mom. She loved to dance and was spotted often at the local dance halls that were quite popular in her day. She and her husband, Ed, my step-grandfather, would travel all around southeast Kansas just to attend senior dances, and as a young person I traveled along – happily dancing with my grandparents and all the other grandchildren that joined their families as well. But it was in the kitchen that Grandma really boogied down. She would turn the music up while whipping the mashed potatoes and Charleston all around the floor. I can still do a mean Charleston today, thanks to Grandma.
My dad also loved to dance. One of my favorite memories of the late 1970s and early 1980s was pushing all the furniture against the walls in our tiny living room and enjoying a bit of disco. My dad would do his best John Travolta impersonation from Staying Alive– he was actually pretty good! When I was with my mother, we also danced. We loved to do “the bump” while cooking dinner. As I entered high school, my favorite thing to do with friends was escape to The Caravan on Friday nights to dance away all of our teenage angst – in a circle, of course. Regular dancing occurred all through college as well – everyone went to the clubs to enjoy beverages and each others’ company, but mainly to dance, dance, dance.
Given my upbringing, I guess I could say that the music has always been in me. So it just comes natural to take a break in the evenings, ask Alexa to play some of my favorite tunes and let it all loose around the kitchen island. I really do live the saying “dance like no one’s watching” when it’s just me, my kitchen and music. The dog, however, does watch very curiously.
But why dance?
The latest research shows dancing can increase the number of cells in the brain's hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for long and short-term memory as well as spatial navigation. It's also the area of the brain that is most susceptible to decline as we age – so we need to look after it.
The article suggests that employers should encourage their employees to dance more – even in the workplace! After all, as others have noted, dancing boosts your overall attitude, it contributes to social engagement, it has multiple health benefits and anyone can do it. No equipment is necessary – just add music and let go.