One of our talented RMT’s, Zam Ramirez, explains how dance can benefit your health in multiple ways:
The Dance of Great Posture: How Dancing Can Improve Your Posture:
Good posture is not only essential for physical health and well-being but also plays a crucial role in various activities, including dancing. Whether you’re a professional dancer or simply enjoy dancing as a hobby, understanding the relationship between great posture and dancing can greatly enhance your performance. I am so grateful for dance and I want to share with you in this blog post, how dancing can improve your own posture and provide tips for incorporating dance-inspired techniques into your everyday life. First, let’s talk about the benefits of dancing and how they relate to posture:
- Alignment and Core Strength: Dancing requires proper alignment and core strength to execute movements with grace and precision. For dances that are more free-flowing, it is still important to engage core muscles such as the abdominals, and obliques, to name a few. Engaging such core muscles and aligning the spine correctly are fundamental aspects of achieving and maintaining good posture. Through dance, I have learned what areas in my body require more strengthening and what areas lack flexibility. For example, I used to suffer from terrible back pain from straining my back, I did not take care of my body back then and this pain became chronic for over 6 years. My core was very weak, I was not breathing properly and I would fatigue pretty fast. I would go through periods of time where I was in so much pain, and where I needed to stop training, then the pain would go away and I would start again to then be caught again in a cycle of pain. Over the years with proper training, dancing has improved my awareness of my own body’s alignment, resulting in improved posture both on and off the dance floor. With a lot of effort, I am finally pain-free.
- Balance and Stability: Dancing involves various movements that challenge our balance and stability. Whether it is ballet, salsa, hip hop or contemporary dance, maintaining an upright posture is vital for executing spins, turns, and intricate footwork. As we practice dancing, our bodies learn to distribute weight evenly, leading to improved balance and stability, which naturally translates into a better posture in your day-to-day activities.
- Increased Body Awareness: Dance cultivates a deep sense of body awareness, where you become attuned to the subtle nuances of your movements and postural alignment. Through regular dance practice, you develop a stronger mind-body connection, allowing you to recognize and correct any postural imbalances or misalignments. This heightened body awareness gained through dance can be carried over into your everyday life, helping you maintain good posture while sitting, standing, and walking. For me, I bike a lot, I know what muscles immediately are not engaged, when I am massaging my clients, I know if my upper body is slouched and if I am carrying a lot of tension that will create a domino effect. It is a constant dance of balance, of readjusting, nourishing my body and educating my clients.
- Strengthening Postural Muscles: Dancing engages and strengthens a wide range of muscles, including those responsible for maintaining good posture. Movements such as lifts, extensions, and leaps activate the muscles of the back, abdomen, hips, and legs, promoting strength and stability in these areas. Strengthening these postural muscles not only improves your dance performance but also helps you maintain an upright posture throughout your daily activities.
- Stretching and Flexibility: Flexibility is closely linked to good posture. The dance incorporates various stretching exercises that target muscles, tendons, and ligaments, improving flexibility and range of motion. Increased flexibility can alleviate muscle tightness and imbalances that often contribute to poor posture. Regular dance practice can help lengthen and loosen tight muscles, promoting a more open and upright posture. I often stretch my quads, my hamstrings, my glutes, and even the muscles in my calves. These muscles get very tired from dancing on heels and I have to work on a regular basis to keep my calves supple but also my ankles strong.
Incorporating Dance-Inspired Techniques into Everyday Life:
- Practice mindful alignment: Pay attention to your posture throughout the day, whether you’re sitting, standing, or walking. Visualize your body aligning vertically from the top of your head to your feet, keeping your shoulders relaxed and your core engaged.
- Take dance breaks: Incorporate short dance breaks into your routine, even if it’s just a few minutes of freestyle movement. This allows you to reconnect with your body, improve posture, and release tension.
- Attend posture-focused dance classes: Seek out dance classes that emphasize posture and alignment, such as ballet or contemporary dance. These styles often include specific exercises and techniques to promote excellent posture.
- Pilates and yoga: Supplementing your dance practice with Pilates or yoga can further enhance your posture. These disciplines focus on core strength, flexibility, and body awareness, complementing the benefits gained from dance.
- Thank your body for everything it does for you before engaging in any physical activity, stay curious, engaged, and if you have any further questions, book yourself a massage to learn more about how your body is doing.